Tag: Katy Perry

RIDER Interview

The lively playful persona of RIDER is merely an entry point into her eclectic musical world.

At the centre of the American born singer, songwriter and musician’s work is melody. A graduate of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, RIDER exudes positivity whether she is presenting synthwave tinged pop, emotive soulful ballads, AOR or something a little bit more indie.

Her style is hard to pin down but with the Trans-Atlantic timbre in her voice and her lyrics referencing life changing experiences, her larger than life personality is the key to her eternal optimism and desire to move forward.

Having maintained a successful career as professional session singer on TV and radio with clients including Disney, Netflix, Volvo and the BBC, RIDER began releasing her own solo singles in 2017 with the best one being ‘Tell Nobody’; its promo video was premiered on The Electricity Club in 2019.

With the bouncy sun-kissed pop statement of ‘Stay’ due out very soon, RIDER kindly took time to chat to The Electricity Club about her music and career to date.

You’ve described yourself alt-pop, so what do you interpret that as?

I feel my music is pop overall because of my melodies but I feel the sounds sometimes give it a more retro feel or sometimes quite indie in certain tracks, so in a nut shell I think ‘alt-pop’ sums it up well.

Who have been your influences with regards songwriting, and then musically in terms of arrangement and production?

Many artists have influenced me over the years. Sting really influenced me in terms of songwriting as well as Michael Jackson, Amy Grant, The Backstreet Boys, Faith Hill and Third Eye Blind. I would say arrangement and production wise M83, HAIM, THE 1975 and certain 80s film music like ‘The Flight Of The Navigator’, ‘The Never Ending Story’ and ‘The Goonies’ have greatly influenced me. I also really admire the slick pop productions from artists like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift as well.

You’ve released a number of individual songs in different styles, but are you concerned that you could be too varied for a potential fanbase to become attached to you?

I’m not worried about that at all. I feel what gels my songs together is my production style and vocal style. I don’t agree that artists should pigeon hole themselves into one very obvious style. At the end of the day, we are all influenced by so many styles and artist and it’s only natural to express that in the writing. At the end of the day, I love a strong melody and productions that are dreamy, interesting and rich in detail.

Your new single ‘On Your Mind’ has a fabulous synth solo, how did this track come together?

Thank you so much! Glad you like it! The track first came about with a synth sound I found and it created this cool syncopated rhythm. In the end I wrote the song around that. Originally the verses were more chilled out actually, but that synth solo came pretty early on and I knew I had to have it no matter how the song grew. That synth solo sound is actually 3 different synths sounds together. Lil hidden fact there hehe.

The video for ‘On Your Mind’ showcases you as a lover of life, is that presentation very much what you’re about?

It’s true, I do love life. I always have! I have my down days of course like anybody else, but I have always found it easy and natural to find the good in everything and choose to see the beauty in life. It’s helped me get through some tough times that’s for sure and so yes, be it driving in my car, walking my dogs or skating, these are things I enjoy doing. The video captures me trying to get on with my life despite the fact that I’m actually going crazy in my mind about a certain someone.

So is the portrayal of you in the ‘Jump’ video like a fantasy version that captures your musical personalities?

Good question! My label and I actually originally wanted to do an animated cartoon video for ‘Jump’ but we found animators charge a lot of money, so we thought it’d be ideal to have me perform it instead. It was my idea to incorporate different sides of me because there are different sides of me. I’m a tomboy, a girl fascinated about anything spiritual, I’m a bit of a fairy type person and I’ve been interested in angels all my life. Then you get the girl next door as RIDER singing. It felt right to express these different sides of me and it certainly was a hugely fun video to shoot!! I’m glad we did it like we did and not do a cartoon route.

Can you play all the instruments depicted? Which is your tool of choice?

I can, yes, but I wouldn’t necessarily perform with a guitar. I’m more of a studio guitarist but I do love performing with the drums or keys. My first instrument is the piano/keys though and I’ve performed playing that more than anything.

The marvellous ‘Tell Nobody’ explored a synthwave aesthetic, what inspired you to head towards that direction?

It was that main synth sound at the beginning. The chords! One day I played those chords with that synth and I was so unbelievably happy that I knew I just had to keep it. I knew it was instantly more synthwave and 80s but I LOVED that! The rest of the song was written around that hook. It just had to be done! God I love that song.

There was another great video for ‘Tell Nobody’ although on this one, you only made a cameo?

Again the original idea I had for this music video was either a cartoon or a couple of child actors in real life. It’s a song where I’m telling a story rather than it being a personal story of my own, so it felt right that I take more of a cameo role than a main one.

How important to you see the audio / visual aspect of pop music, does it all go hand in hand?

Yes I naturally see visions when I make music. For me they definitely come hand in hand. I’m a very visually led person. I even have epic dreams every night and always remember them. With every song I’ve ever written, I’ve always seen full films for each one. I guess if money wasn’t an issue, I’d have huge budget Hollywood type films made every time!

You haven’t played a band show for a little while now, is it something you enjoy?

I absolutely love performing!! Once I’m on stage, I don’t want to get off!

The only part I don’t enjoy as much is the band rehearsal scheduling. Everyone has their own lives and sometimes it’s just hard to find a date we can all get together – that takes some patience.

In this social media / streaming centred world, what do you think it the best way for a modern pop artist to engage an audience?

I think Instagram is great! The Insta stories and IGTV are awesome to instantly connect with fans. I’ve enjoyed using it anyway and so I’d recommend that.

What are your plans for the future with regards new material? More singles or is there an album or EP in the works?

Definitely more singles for the remainder of this year but my label Sapien Records and I have already discussed releasing an EP featuring some new tracks. We’re not sure when we’re going to do that though. Perhaps next year!

What are your hopes and fears as an artist as you continue to navigate this ever changing music world?

My hopes are to perform on some massive stages and positively change people lives through my music. My fears are that I don’t want to come across as egotistic because I’m an artist.

I know that I’ll always be me but I see how some artists can change for the worst in terms of their character and it’s such a shame and I’d hate for people to think I‘ve changed for any reason. You’ve got to stay true to yourself and stay grounded.

I’m also sometimes fearful about coming across some no good big cat characters in the business. I’ve already come across a few in my days and it’s made me trust people less.

Overall though, I’m certainly feeling less fearless and more positive about my future and I know that whatever I put my mind too I will succeed and be happy deep within. After all, feeling truly happy in my life is my number one priority.


The Electricity club gives its warmest thanks to RIDER

Special thanks to David Smith at Sapien Records

‘On Your Mind’ and ‘Tell Nobody’ are released by Sapien Records, available on all digital platforms while the new single ‘Stay’ comes out on 15th May 2020

https://www.riderofficial.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RiderMusicPage/

https://twitter.com/RiderMusicPage

https://www.instagram.com/ridermusicpage/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/5G2EghUKgFfKXlghzyBVM6


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
30th April 2020

THE ELECTRICITY CLUB… The Next Generation?

Sitting on the sofa with my now thirteen year old daughter, who over the years has acquired a rather sarcastic sense of humour (who on Earth does she get that from?!) and pondering how to approach this task of reviewing ‘The Electricity Club’ compilation, makes us both burst out with hearty laughter.

After all, she wants to rise to the occasion properly, and review things “just like Mummy does”, or maybe not, as “Mummy always says it as it is!”

Children have the innate ability to always tell the truth; my daughter, however, has an uncontrollable need to please people, so this could really go either way. She will either be pulling her disgusted face, saying “what a load of rubbish!”, or candidly praise, without certainty.

My own adventure with music dates back many years indeed. I was brought up within, what they used to call in communist Poland, “an intelligence family”, meaning both my parents were white collar workers, rather than working class.

My father, a respectable judge, had loved his music greatly and was an avid guitar player himself, while my mum, a teacher, enjoyed listening to pretty much anything within the popular genre (usually via her radio, which, to this day, is always on).

Recalling the baby book entry, which my mum recorded when I was at the tender age of five, saying “Monika loves listening and dancing to records, she could spend all day doing so”, makes me try and remember the old record player and hundreds of vinyl albums which my parents owned.

All this said, I hold my older by ten years brother solely responsible for my eventual music choices. As I was growing up, I just had to endure what he was listening to (at great volume, may I add!).

As legal copies of western music were incredibly hard (or, simply, impossible) to get, his room was full of pirate cassette tapes of everything from THE HUMAN LEAGUE to MICHAEL JACKSON and anything and everything in between.

He would take great pride in inviting me into his musical cave and fed me with DEPECHE MODE, ERASURE, ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA and OMD.

And all this worked… during his absence, I’d sneak in and put my favourites on, which would primarily include the works of DEPECHE MODE, with the vinyl of ‘Black Celebration’ and maxi-single vinyl of ‘Stripped’ being the firm first choices. And that’s how I acquired the electronic music bug. From then on, not much else mattered but coming home from school and playing the entire back catalogue of the Basildon boys, dotted with the works of YAZOO and ERASURE.

My Allie has had little choice, since her musical adventure dates back to being in my womb. At the age of three she would sing ERASURE’s ‘You Surround Me’ on top of her little baby voice, and her sweet childish vocal was sampled and recorded by a well-known UK electronic duo.

Her first gig was at the age of five, and she went to see ERASURE at six and DEPECHE MODE twice at the grown-up age of seven, keenly taking part in the experience.

Although since she’s found love for KATIE PERRY, ARIANA GRANDE and TAYLOR SWIFT, and electronic music hasn’t been on her radar much lately, she absolutely loved ASHBURY HEIGHTS’ ‘The Looking Glass Society’. She also has a lot of vintage DEPECHE MODE on her Spotify playlist, interestingly enough none of it past ‘Songs Of Faith & Devotion’, and plays it at least twice a week.

Having heard that, I would include her opinion in the tongue-in-cheek review of The Electricity Club compilation, she keenly decided to be a serious contributor, and so it goes…

MAISON VAGUE Synthpop’s Alive

Allie: I don’t like it but I like it…

Mon: Bit GARY NUMAN this is! But a tad laboured and rough and ready.

Allie: I like the synth sounds, the voice sounds a bit weird.

KID KASIO Full Moon Blue

Mon: Ah, my favourite of Nathan’s! Love it, love it, love it!

Allie: I like the sounds, the first bit sounds a bit like DEPECHE MODE!

Mon: Yeah, a tribute to ‘Two Minute Warning’!

Allie: That’s it! I like it a lot. I like his voice.

ELECTRONIC CIRCUS Roundabout

Allie: Oh my God! Rubbish!

Mon: Why? *cannot contain the laughter*

Allie: It’s just rubbish!

Mon: Erm, the synth is good, not sure about the vocal…

DAYBEHAVIOR It’ s A Game – Marsheaux remix

Mon: I like this, analog synth! Lovely…

Allie: I like it, like the vocal, but it’s not something I’d listen to if I had a choice.

Mon: Oh, I would. Very good song and well produced by MARSHEAUX.

MARNIE The Hunter

Allie: Reminds me of something but I don’t know what. I like it, love the vocal.

Mon: I hear a bit of LADYTRON, BJÖRK and MARSHEAUX. It’s fresh and enticing.

Allie: Yes, LADYTRON! That’s it!

NIGHT CLUB Cruel Devotion

Allie: Ohhhh, I like that!

Mon: You’ve met them last year Allie! Very good!

Allie: Oh yes, I do like this! I like the background sound and the vocals. I’d play that in my room… She doesn’t sound American! Is she American?

Mon: Yes! *laughs*

Allie: I’d make music like that!

ELEVEN ELEVEN Through The Veil

Mon: I like the beginning, bit of KYLIE there.

Allie: I don’t know who that is! I like the vocals!

Mon: I like the sound! (Note to self: “must educate Allie on KYLIE”).

QUEEN OF HEARTS United

Mon: Oh I’m liking this, fat synth and decent voice…

Allie: I like it, both synth and the vocal.

KATY PERRY Hot N Cold – Marsheaux remix

Allie: It’s KATY PERRY! I like this! I like this remix, it’s different from the original! *singing out loud*

Mon: I never liked the original and this doesn’t do it for me either.

Allie: What?! I love it! But her voice is a bit screechy, like on the normal version!

ERASURE Be The One – Paul Humphreys remix

Allie: Sounds like ERASURE…

Mon: It is!

Allie: Ah, I knew it! Is it a remix?

Mon: Yep.

Allie: I love ERASURE, this is lovely.

Mon: Totally agree.

KID MOXIE The Bailor

Allie: I don’t like her vocals.

Mon: I do, it’s a good song.

Allie: I like the music, the melody is nice.

Mon: It’s a grown up song, very atmospheric and cinematic. Great use of synth. My kind of electronica.

KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS Oostende

Allie: I like it! The vocals are great. I’d listen to it in the car.

Mon: Yes, it’s good, both vocally and musically.

FOTONOVELA featuring JAMES NEW My Sorrow

Allie: I’ve heard it before.

Mon: Really? I haven’t! You must be thinking of something else.

Allie: It’s ok, reminds me of something you’ve played before.

GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS Jessica

Allie: I don’t like it, vocals aren’t great, don’t like the music.

Mon: It’s not my cup of tea either, but I’m sure it’ll appeal to few people.

AUTOMATIC WRITING Continuous

Mon: Interesting start! It’s different, I shouldn’t like it but I do.

Allie: It’s ok, again, it reminds me of something.

METROLAND Thalys – London edit

Mon: Oh I like that. Simple arrangement and that’s all you need. Not sure about the voice sample though.

Allie: It’s very robotic, like science fiction. It’s like something from another planet. It’s KRAFTWERK!

RODNEY CROMWELL Black Dog

Allie: Yeah! That’s ok! *does a little dance*

Mon: Hmmm, not sure. It’s not unpleasant.

SIN COS TAN Trust

Allie: Don’t know, not sure about that one.

Mon: It’s ok.

Allie: Bored now!

POLLY SCATTERGOOD Other Too Endless – Vince Clarke remix

Mon: Good synth on this one. Liking this a lot. Competent vocals and arrangement, a real stand out.

Allie: Not my cup of tea.

TENEK What Do You Want?

Allie: Is that MESH? Sounds like it!

Mon: No, it’s not, it’s TENEK. It’s a good song.

Allie: Yes, I really like it. I like the instruments.

ANALOG ANGEL We Won’t Walk Away

Allie: It’s fast. Not my kind of thing.

Mon: It’s very well written. It needs more oomph! Very OMD.

ARTHUR & MARTHA Autovia

Allie: It’s not in tune… I don’t know, I don’t like it.

Mon: It’s different, not me either…

MARSHEAUX Suffer The Children

Mon: A cover. Good.

Allie: It is good, bouncy.

SECTION 25 My Outrage

Mon: Oh dear, messy! Too candied for me, bit all over the place.

Allie: Yes, I don’t think it’s good. I can’t describe it but it’s not something I’d listen to.

047 featuring LISA PEDERSEN Everything’s Fine

Allie: Clubby! Like it. Yes, I do! *bounces away*

Mon: Good, isn’t it? I like the club feel to it. A good dance song.

TAXX Is It Love?

Mon: Oh yes, good stuff! Progressive. Decent vocal too.

Allie: It’s ok, but I wouldn’t listen to it in the car. At a disco, maybe…

LIEBE I Believe In You

Allie: You know the ding-ding sounds? They remind me of PET SHOP BOYS!

Mon: “Ding-ding sounds!” To me the vocal technique resembles NEW ORDER. It’s good.

QUIETER THAN SPIDERS Shanghai Metro

Mon: It’s ok.

Allie: Too poppy, way too poppy. Chow mein? *laughs*

iEUROPEAN feat WOLFGANG FLÜR Activity Of Sound

Mon: That’s it! The synth is all there. Semi-modular synth? Very tidy!

Allie: I do actually like it! It’s club but different.

TWINS NATALIA Destiny

Mon: Not me vocally but decent synth I suppose.

Allie: I like the vocals! I don’t know, all confused now, too many songs!

Mon: No, that’s awful.

MESH Tuesday

Mon: YAZOO cover Allie!

Allie: I knew that I knew it! Is that MESH?!

Mon: Yes!

Allie: Thought so. I like anything MESH!

Mon: Now, there’s a surprise!

Allie: You know me!

MIRRORS Between Four Walls

Allie: Like this one, nice music.

Mon: Bit laboured… it’s not bad though.

OMD Time Burns – Fotonovela rework

Allie: Very robotic.

Mon: Not me!

VILE ELECTRODES Deep Red

Allie: I like the vocals, sounds a bit like Sarah Blackwood!

Mon: It’s Jane actually!

Allie: Ahhhh! Doh! I like that a lot. It’s slow! *laughs*

Mon: It is good, but no surprise there.

Allie: Is that the last song?!

Mon: Yes…

Allie: Thank god, I’m tired now!

She will sleep well! I have to say, she did surprise me with some songs and disappointed with others but that just proves to me, that tastes do indeed vary, and even if I’m vehemently against something, others will find it enticing.

‘The Electricity Club’ compilation is a marvellous collection of tunes, and that’s a given. There’s something for everyone here and what a cross-section of all electronica. Still, I come to conclusion that thirteen year olds are probably not mature enough to fully appreciate certain synth music…

Will she follow in my steps? Not for a while… if ever! The one thing we certainly have in common: WE SAY IT AS IT IS!


‘The Electricity Club’ is released on 3rd December 2018 by Amour Records / Minos EMI / Universal Music in collaboration with Undo Records as a 34 track 2CD set in a deluxe 6 panel digipak with track-by-track commentary and ‘O’ card; the compilation can be pre-ordered from the following retailers:

Europe http://www.poponaut.de/various-artists-electricity-club-p-18056.html

North America https://stormingthebase.bandcamp.com/merch/various-the-electricity-club-2cd

Please note this product is NOT on sale through The Electricity Club website and only via retailers

A Spotify sampler of the compilation can be listened to at: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7xwTYTeH6b5vgCqjZudfGE

http://www.amour-records.com

https://www.facebook.com/amour.records/

https://twitter.com/Amour_Records

https://www.instagram.com/amour_records/

https://www.minosemi.gr/

https://www.facebook.com/MinosEmi/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
1st December 2018

THE ELECTRICITY CLUB 2CD Compilation

Amour Records / Minos EMI / Universal Music in collaboration with Undo Records are to release a 2CD compilation compiled by The Electricity Club.

Capturing its ethos to feature the best in new and classic electronic pop music, this compilation is the culmination of a period which has seen the resurgence of the genre. Over the years, The Electricity Club appears to have reflected the interests of people who love the Synth Britannia era and have a desire to hear new music seeded from that ilk.

Little did The Electricity Club know when it launched on 15th March 2010, it would go on to interview many of the key players in Synth Britannia, get granted an audience with two former members of KRAFTWERK and be influential in helping some of the best new synthesizer talents gain a profile within a reinvigorated scene. So it is highly apt that WOLFGANG FLÜR should make an appearance on this collection.

The Electricity Club is pleased to showcase its ethos in the form of this tangible audio artefact. Among the impressive cast, there are prime movers from the classic era like PAUL HUMPHREYS and VINCE CLARKE. Without the influence of the bands they respectively co-founded, OMD and DEPECHE MODE, electronic pop as The Electricity Club likes it would not exist.

Meanwhile the next generation are represented by acts such as KID MOXIE, NIGHT CLUB, RODNEY CROMWELL and VILE ELECTRODES. Incidentally, the latter were invited to support OMD on their 2013 German tour following ANDY McCLUSKEY’s discovery of the duo while perusing The Electricity Club’s virtual pages. The bloodline from ‘Radio-Activity’ to ‘Romance Of The Telescope’ and then to ‘Deep Red’ is easily traceable and deeply omnipresent.

The Electricity Club has always relished its diverse taste credentials. It doesn’t do retro or contemporary, just good music. No other compendium could dare to include the spiky post-punk of GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS and the rousing electro-rock of MESH alongside pop princesses such as QUEEN OF HEARTS or KATY PERRY. Be it Glasgow’s ANALOG ANGEL and MARNIE, Manchester veterans SECTION 25 or Essex boys TENEK, it all fits into The Electricity Club’s avant pop playground.

With international representation also from Gothenburg’s DAYBEHAVIOR and 047, Shanghai synthpoppers QUIETER THAN SPIDERS, Texan dance duo ELEVEN: ELEVEN, Belgium’s own passengers METROLAND and the self-explanatory KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS, the tracks gathered capture a special moment in time where innovative musical aspirations and good tunes have again manifested themselves in the same context.

The collection features a number of covers including MESH’s take on YAZOO’s ‘Tuesday’ and MARSHEAUX’s reinterpretation of TEARS FOR FEARS’ first single ‘Suffer The Children’. In addition, tracks such as MARSHEAUX’s stomping remix of KATY PERRY’s ‘Hot ‘N’ Cold’ and MIRRORS’ ‘Between Four Walls’ make their premiere in CD format.

The tracklisting is:

CD1

01 MAISON VAGUE Synthpop’s Alive
02 KID KASIO Full Moon Blue
03 ELECTRONIC CIRCUS Roundabout
04 DAYBEHAVIOR It’s A Game (Marsheaux remix)
05 MARNIE The Hunter
06 ELEVEN:ELEVEN Through The Veil
07 NIGHT CLUB Cruel Devotion
08 QUEEN OF HEARTS United
09 KATY PERRY Hot ‘N’ Cold (Marsheaux remix)
10 ERASURE Be The One (Paul Humphreys remix)
11 KID MOXIE The Bailor
12 KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS Oostende
13 FOTONOVELA featuring JAMES NEW Our Sorrow (Original mix)
14 GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS Jessica 6
15 AUTOMATIC WRITING Continuous
16 METROLAND Thalys (London Edit)
17 RODNEY CROMWELL Black Dog

CD2

01 SIN COS TAN Trust
02 POLLY SCATTERGOOD Other Too Endless (Vince Clarke remix)
03 TENEK What Do You Want? (Alternate TEC version)
04 ANALOG ANGEL We Won’t Walk Away
05 ARTHUR & MARTHA Autovia
06 MARSHEAUX Suffer The Children
07 SECTION 25 My Outrage
08 047 featuring LISA PEDERSEN Everything’s Fine
09 TAXX Is It Love?
10 LIEBE I Believe In You
11 QUIETER THAN SPIDERS Shanghai Metro
12 iEUROPEAN featuring WOLFGANG FLÜR Activity Of Sound
13 TWINS NATALIA Destiny
14 MESH Tuesday
15 MIRRORS Between Four Walls
16 OMD Time Burns (Fotonovela rework)
17 VILE ELECTRODES Deep Red


‘The Electricity Club’ is released by Amour Records / Minos EMI / Universal Music in collaboration with Undo Records as a 34 track 2CD set in a deluxe 6 panel digipak with track-by-track commentary and ‘O’ card; the compilation be purchased from the following retailers:

Europe http://www.poponaut.de/various-artists-electricity-club-p-18056.html

North America https://stormingthebase.bandcamp.com/merch/various-the-electricity-club-2cd

Please note this product is NOT on sale through The Electricity Club website and only via retailers

http://www.amour-records.com

https://www.facebook.com/amour.records/

https://twitter.com/Amour_Records

https://www.instagram.com/amour_records/

https://www.minosemi.gr/

https://www.facebook.com/MinosEmi/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
12th November 2018, updated 16th January 2020

MARINA & THE DIAMONDS Electra Heart

Dear diary, we fell apart…

‘The Family Jewels’ by the delectable MARINA & THE DIAMONDS was a great, quirkily tuneful debut with barking mad lyrics and staccato melodies fuelled by plenty of SPARKS inspired Fe-Mael Intuition.

It also happened to be the first album reviewed by The Electricity Club on its launch in March 2010. But the Greco-Welsh songstress has since shed her wholesome brunette locks for what appears to be an ironic exploration into the world of the archetypal All-American blonde starlet with ‘Electra Heart’.

“It’s an Ode to dysfunctional love”, Marina Diamandis said in her press release, “I based the project around character types commonly found in love stories, film and theatre, usually ones associated with power and control in love, as opposed to weakness or defeat. I guess it was a way of dealing with the embarrassment that, for the first time in my life, I got ‘played’. Rejection is a universally embarrassing topic and ‘Electra Heart’ is my response to that. It is a frank album”.

Musically, the interim single and deluxe bonus track ‘Radioactive’ featured rave stabs and dance beats; it was a long way from the excellent unreleased sub-PET SHOP BOYS meets KATE BUSH ditty ‘Jealousy’ which had been revived for her ‘Burger Queen’ tour and was slated for inclusion on her second album.

A number of high profile producers and writers such as Dr Luke who has worked with KATY PERRY and SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA have been drafted in. ‘The Family Jewels’ main producer Liam Howe has been relegated to just two tracks on the main feature. Meanwhile Rick Nowells, whose credits include BELINDA CARLISLE, takes his place on four songs and the ubiquitous Greg Kurstin makes his presence known on three.

‘Bubblegum Bitch’ is a good start though, spiky new wave pop like LENE LOVICH covering THE ADVERTS ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’, Marina says it’s her favourite track on the collection which is telling! But it’s immediately followed by a full force jump into KATY PERRY territory with ‘Primadonna’ and ‘Homewrecker’. Less subtle and less inspiring, these hyper pop tunes are perhaps not what some were expecting.

‘Starring Role’ is much better, perhaps more in ‘The Family Jewels’ vein; less bombastic and free of Perry-isms. ‘The State Of Dreaming’ is another excellent track, gently electro assisted but layered with strings and rousing in a way that made MARINA & THE DIAMONDS such an inspired listen back in 2010.

The Euro-thud of ‘Power & Control’, courtesy of Steve Angello from SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA,  is slightly more pedestrian but the similarly influenced ‘Living Dead’ is proof that when Marina does synthpop, she can do it very well. The Greg Kurstin steered song is spoiled though by the over driving four-on-the-floor beats in the choruses. Producers please take note; syncopated rhythms and 6/8 Schaffel can make people dance too.

The brilliantly titled ‘Teen Idle’ is ‘Numb’ meets ‘Guilty’, full of contemporary backing but classic Marina. Bubbling electronics compliment the epic ‘Valley Of The Dolls’, its additional orchestration worthy of John Barry as Marina’s contralto voice, free of effects, totally resonates. The ambient synth intro of ‘Fear Of Loathing’ launches into mental breakdown for a terrifically emotive closer.

But an album’s bonus tracks are always a good indication of what could have been. Thus the Greg Kurstin co-write ‘Sex Yeah’ is brilliant, a perfect electronically assisted pop tune with subtle guitar lines and complimentary rhythms.

And ‘Buy The Stars’ could easily have come off ‘The Family Jewels’, proof that if Liam Howell had been behind the desk, MARINA & THE DIAMONDS’ second album would have been very different.

Overall, ‘Electra Heart’ is a better album that the preview snippets have perhaps suggested. And despite the more obvious in-yer-face tracks being used to launch the album, there is still much of Marina Diamandis here, if a little too artificially assisted and wearing clothes that are far more suited to more provocatively obvious, if less interesting female artists.

There are some great moments on ‘Electra Heart’, but she can do better than this. Marina isn’t KATY PERRY and shouldn’t feel the need to be!


‘Electra Heart’ is released by 679/Atlantic Records

www.marinaandthediamonds.com

https://www.facebook.com/marinaandthediamonds/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
1st May 2012