Marina and the Diamonds review – an artist whose moment has come

Oslo, London
In her first show for 18 months, Diamandis brings her synth past and poppy present into a fertile middle ground that delights the crowd

“It’s been two and a half years since I played my home town,” reveals Marina Diamandis. “I haven’t been on stage for a year and a half.”

After being out of the spotlight for so long, the 29-year-old might be forgiven a few nerves, especially as she’s showcasing songs never played live. But despite acknowledging her DIY roots – and describing the keyboard she writes on, a 2007 purchase from Argos, as “shit” – Diamandis has always had the confidence of a born pop star. Tonight, she’s dressed in a three-piece leather suit comprising bralet, trousers and cropped jacket that only the bold or foolish would venture near. On her head is an alice band adorned with large, fruit-machine cherries, while behind her, big silver balloons spell out the title of her third album, Froot, due for release next week.

Bouncing about the stage to Bubblegum Bitch, Diamandis shows no remorse for the generic pop of her last LP, Electra Heart, which stripped away her quirky affectations in favour of bland, blonde ambition. With Froot, however, Diamandis has found an organic and fertile middle ground. Blue brilliantly marries her synth past with a more disco-influenced present, combining both with an irresistible chorus. Forget roots her dramatic voice in subtle angst and Can’t Pin Me Down shows her snappy, sassy songwriting at full stretch.

Ditching the hair accessory and handing the balloons to fans, Diamandis sits at a keyboard for the lilting Obsessions. The 350-strong crowd don’t just sing along but echo every lyric, leaving the harmonies of her four-piece band redundant. That Diamandis appreciates their tangible adoration is obvious. Having blown kisses and pressed flesh, she confides how she was warned that her change in direction might lose her support. ‘‘I said, ‘I haven’t got a choice, I can’t make anything but this record,’” she says, vulnerable for the first time. But like her leather get-up, Diamandis’s new sound fits and flatters her perfectly and leaves her looking every inch an artist whose moment has come.

• Marina and the Diamonds play V festival in Chelmsford, Essex, on 22 August and Shifnal, Shropshire, on 23 August.


Betty Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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