by Raj Rudolph

To be honest, I really wasn't that much of a hardcore Marina & The Diamonds fan before.  She's a lovely girl, I've met her a few times and I really really liked "Hollywood" and "I Am Not A Robot" from her first album "The Family Jewels", but to go as far as saying I was a STAN for her, well, that wouldn't be entirely true.

Yesterday, I got the album sampler in the post for her new album "Electra Heart" and I was rather curious to say the least.  To my surprise, it's quite electronic pop which is NOT what I was expecting at all.  From the second lead single "Primadonna" kicked in, I thought – wow, this really is a change of direction for her.  I guess Marina has been going through a bit of a metamorphosis lately – all starting with the hair colour.  Don't get too excited if you think she's planning a Lady Gaga like re-invention, but I think you'll all be rather surprised at how electro-pop she's become on this project.  How so you ask?  Well there is an obvious nod to Kylie in "Primadonna" as you can hear "Wow" popping up from time-to-time in this track – it's really quite clever.

Perhaps my favorite song on the sampler is the glorious "State Of Dreaming" which I can easily call my favorite song from Marina thus far.  It's lush, grandiose and un-apologetically pop when the chorus kicks in.  You still get those shades of quirky Marina vocal in ther verses, but this time, the beat is the main driver here and unless someone told you, you wouldn't quite know it was Marina and The Diamonds.  I like that.  On "Homewrecker" Marina gets rather feisty.  I would go as far as saying this song is VERY PET SHOP BOYS and completely anthematic and uplifting.  It's not so suprsing though that these tracks sound like pop gold, Marina has hand-picked some of the best in the business to work on "Electra Heart" including Dr Luke (Katy Perry), Rick Nowels (Madonna), Liam Howe (Sneaker Pimps) and Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen) to name just a few.

One has to wonder about Marina's ability to play in the current landscape of pop, but with "Electra Heart" shaping up to be one of the most surprising albums this year for me, my love for this little diamond just got a bit brighter.

"Electra Heart" by Marina & The Diamonds is released on April 30th