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A self-proclaimed DIY pop star with equal amounts of love for Britney Spears and Daniel Johnston, British singer/songwriter Marina Diamandis takes aim at American consumer culture by embracing the conventions of its most marketable music. On her debut, The Family Jewels, this tactic resulted in an interesting but uneasy disjuncture that becomes increasingly problematic on her sophomore effort.
On Electra Heart, Diamandis trades her cabaret post-punk vocal histrionics and thrift-store chic for an unconvincing Jacqueline Susann bombshell image and more overtly top-40-friendly sound courtesy of A-list pop producers Dr. Luke, Diplo and Greg Kurstin. Her husky, swooping voice brims with character, but it’s rarely given room to breathe here, and pairing the blunt metaphorical conceits of songs like Primadonna, Bubblegum Bitch and Homewrecker with equally unimaginative beats results in much middling and unmemorable material.
Things turn around in the third act with gentler and sweetly melodic songs Hypocrates and Fear And Loathing, two songs that end Electra Heart on a high note.
Top track: Hypocrates