On the fence over eccentricity

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 March, 2010, 12:00am

There seems to be a trend at the moment for female musicians, particularly those from Britain, to embrace 80s sensibilities and create electronic-tinged pop with bizarre lyrics. Last year saw the emergence of Little Boots, La Roux and Florence and the Machine. All of them made a 180-degree turn from the sort of fluffy flirtatious pop most female acts made popular through the early part of the decade.

Joining that list is half-Greek, half-Welsh singer-songwriter Marina and the Diamonds (real name Marina Diamandis) with a voice that veers between Kate Bush, Debbie Harry and Jarvis Cocker.

On her debut release The Family Jewels, Diamandis combines orchestral strings, lots of synth, Pet Shop Boys keyboards, and lyrics that often don't scan to create a much hyped collection of tracks which are, honestly, a little bit mental.

This album is definitely an acquired taste. But if it's not immediately your cup of tea, take a more scientific approach, listen a second time and appreciate the work that's gone into creating this multi-layered record.

Highlights include Girls, a Madness-like march which could be taken on by feminists as a theme song; and lead single Hollywood, a wry observation of Los Angeles, which includes some cheeky name-dropping.