Marina & the Diamonds, "The Family Jewels"

84 Billboard Rating

Some pop singers have plenty of attitude but lack the pipes to back it up. Not so with British singer Marina Diamandis, who performs under the moniker Marina & the Diamonds. On her debut album, "The Family Jewels," Diamandis backs up her bark with a promising bite. The cabaret-flavored song "Hermit the Frog" finds the Welsh singer delivering sharp lyrics ("They call him Hermit the Frog/He's looking for a dog/Did you find your bitch in me?") with the vocal strength and confidence of Annie Lennox. From the romping track "Girls" to the orchestral pop of album closer "Numb," Diamandis knows no bounds. And that means no one is safe, whether it's an insecure lover in need of tough love ("I Am Not a Robot"), the in-crowd (on the creepy "The Outsider," she warns: "Don't get on my bad side/I can work a gun") or the singer herself. And the synth-heavy standout "Oh No!" finds a success-obsessed Diamandis singing, "TV taught me how to feel/Now real life has no appeal." --Lindsey Fortier

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