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10th October 2012

Marina & The Diamonds – Live review

Manchester Academy 1 6th October 6.5/10

The opening notes of ‘Lonely Hearts Club’ are barely audible beneath the barrage of screams that greets Marina Diamonds’ arrival to Academy 1. She struts onto the stage looking resplendent in a 70s style pink dress and long, white veil: costume of the Electra Heart persona Marina has created for her duly titled second album.

Unfortunately, by portraying someone she’s not, sections of the Electra Heart material just don’t feel right coming from Marina. The frankly cringe worthy refrain of ‘Homewrecker’ in which Marina, or Electra rather, promises to “break a million hearts just for fun” is particularly culpable to this issue. It’s a testament to her stage capabilities that her captivating performance and perfect vocal delivery make the song tolerable.

Whilst this aspect of the Electra Heart character is clearly meant to be a satirical attack on this sort of morality, it just feels unnecessary. The volatile mix of actual and conceptualised personalities creates an inconsistent feel to the gig. Marina is far more at home with songs revealing her vulnerability. ‘Lies’ draws a huge crowd response as the beautiful, brooding chorus swells into an anthem that resonates throughout all the wronged in love audience members present.

She can still bring the fun too; the exaggerated faux-rap of ‘Oh No!’ proves a set highlight whilst ‘The State of Dreaming’ boast a euphoric, fist-pumping chorus. Indeed between songs Marina is decidedly playful, revealing a desire for a Miss Selfish Bitch pageant, “I’d win every time” she says dryly. This endearing side reminds us of the Marina we know and love, as do triumphant performances of debut album singles ‘Hollywood’ and ‘I Am Not A Robot’ that induce rapturous sing-alongs.

The sold out crowd and utilisation of props and costume changes show the crossover to big-pop-star territory has been made with Electra Heart. But don’t forget your roots Marina!

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