You may not have heard of Marina & the Diamonds, but you will.Â There’s been a buzz growing about the Welsh act that has only gotten louder following gigs at SXSW. After her sold-out show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles last night, it’s easy to see why.
Marina is Marina Diamondis. The Diamonds refers not her backing band, but to her fans (Hey, if Lady GaGa can have her monsters, Marina can have her diamonds).
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Her May album, â€œThe Family Jewels,â€ is chock full of pop delights like â€œOh, No,â€ â€œI am Not a Robot,â€ â€œObsessions,â€ and â€œShampain,â€ but it’s live that she really soars. At the Troubadour on July 6, in her first U.S. show since SXSW and only fourth American concert overall,Â playing with a stripped-down band (just drums, bass and keyboards) forced Marina to rearrange many of her tunes and put the focus where it truly belongs: on her supple vocals. Marina has been blessed with one of those instruments that seems to have no limits.Â She’s not a belter like a Mariah orÂ Whitney; instead it’s a swooping and swelling voice full of nuance and promiseâ€”more akin to a Kate Bush or Tori Amos (and, oddly, at times Siouxsie Sioux of the Siouxsie and the Banshees).
It’s the type voice that turns 3Oh3!’s â€œStar Strukk,â€ which she covered last night, on its head and makes it seem like a true lament.
Her songs, which are a new wave/pop blend, deal primarily with love gone wrongâ€”more often than not, at her own hand, but the melodies are so jaunty that heartbreak never sounded so good. She also displays a wonderfully cynical look at human nature, such as on â€œHollywood,â€ for which she donned dollar-sign sunglasses and held a fake mega-burger aloft.
Check out the video for â€œOh, Noâ€ and get an idea of how Marina & the Diamonds shine.