The opening track on Electra Heart—the second full-length by Welsh singer Marina Diamandis and her band—kicks things off with a well-placed pointy-toed boot. It's a tune so sticky and hooky that the word "assault" seems appropriate. Recalling the first wave of female singers who put sharp edges on danceable, pop-rooted music—like Lene Lovich and Kate Bush—Diamandis sinks her canines into the frothy "Bubblegum Bitch" as both an opening salvo and a warning. Where 2010's Family Jewels had a more narrow appeal, peppered with art-rock and new wave flavors, Electra Heart is more mainstream, featuring people who've also collaborated with Katy Perry, Madonna, and Lana Del Rey. But the record is tempered with biting, brash wordplay and unique arrangements that are probably a bit outside the grasp of mainstream U.S. audiences. Sexual politics play a large role thematically, and Diamandis' voice is among the most interesting in the genre right now. "I want blood, guts, and angelcake/I'm gonna puke it anyway," she trills in a semi-operatic moment. Cheekiness meshes well with her cabaret heart.
The State of Dreaming
Power & Control
Valley of the Dolls
How to Be a Heartbreaker
Fear and Loathing
Primadonna (Burns Remix) [Bonus Track]
Power & Control (Michael Woods Remix) [Bonus Track]