- 30 May 19
After a five-year hiatus, Marina Diamandis has returned - minus the Diamonds, but laden with enough angst and self-doubt to fill not one, but two albums. Thus, Love + Fear has been released as a two-parter, and just like its creator, it's a conflicted piece of work.
Diamandis has never played it safe. Having gathered a dedicated cult following over the course of four LPs, she now returns with a new name and an ambitious concept album. The project certainly has lofty aspirations: it's apparently inspired by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ros's theory that there are only two primary human emotions - love and fear. In fairness, it's the sort of move you'd expect from an artist with Marina's adventurous spirit.
Just like the binary emotions it aims to convey, however, there are moments of absolute brilliance mixed with the banal. 'Believe In Love', the opening track on the Fear half, is up there with Marina's best; a song marinated in self-doubt and no little trepidation. This track, as well as the compelling 'Soft To Be Strong', are just about enough to offset some of the more underwhelming fare.
There's some generic self-effacement on 'Life Is Strange' ("Don't know what I'm doing with my life/ Everyone feels the same and we all know life is strange"), whilst the screeching on 'You' belongs in the category marked 'difficult listening'. Quite frankly, there's far too much going on over the course of these two unwieldy records: despair at global politics; self-help mantras; and clunky attempts at profundity ('Stuck in fast forward/ Always on the rewind'). There was enough here for one good single album, but Marina's undoubted class surfaces all too infrequently.
Love + Fear is out now.