When: Tue., Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m. 2012
Marina & the Diamonds is actually the singular Welsh singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis, who wants us to know all about her love/hate relationship with pop culture. To that end, the quirky songbird has taken on a soulless, materialistic alter ego named for her new LP Electra Heart. Confused? You should be, and I bet Ms. Diamandis is, too. Some back story: Drawing on '80s dance music and Liz Phair-style heartbreak-hardened alt-rock, Diamandis swept up accolades with her 2010 full-length debut The Family Jewels. Marrying piano ballads with electro beats to swooping vocals that recall New Wave Valkyrie Lene Lovich, Diamandis' sugar-rush pop was a sublime counterweight to her cynical, often sour lyrics. Early hit "I Am Not a Robot," still her best cut, hones a Kate-Nash-meets-Kate-Bush vocal to a unique blend of British eccentricity and raw emotional power. Unfortunately, the newer Electra Heart material swamps Diamandis in an unwieldy concept. Attempting to spotlight artificiality with artifice, Diamandis comments on vapidity and hollowness with generic dance-floor bangers that are both vapid and hollow. Diamandis may think it's oh-so-meta to turn contemporary self-absorption on itself, but she's really just disappearing up her own ass. With Icona Pop.