The clue’s in the name really. Electra Heart is Marina & The Diamonds going electro, with varying degrees of success. Although, curiously, it isn’t in the new electronic element where the lack of consistency shows, but in everything that was pulled off successfully in the previous album. In her new-found fascination with beefing up the synth level to create what might actually become very successful dancefloor fillers in the vein of Ladyhawke or Robots In Disguise, the lyrical content and vocal dexterity she is known for have suffered; ‘Homewrecker’ being the most obvious example. A rip-roaring power chorus doesn’t hide the fact that the verses are greeting card-level poetry, recited in a childlike voice.
Kick-off track ‘Bubblegum Bitch’ is definitely the stand-out of the album. Everything comes together in two and a half minutes of pure synth attitude and genuinely pretty vocals. The song titles follow this theme with ‘Primadonna’; wannabe feminist anthems disguised in a Mean Girls-esque dialogue. Admittedly, it doesn’t take itself seriously. Heavily pop culture laden, it contains a tongue-in-cheek superficiality. Pretending towards philosophy for today it reads like a teenage diary, ‘Teen Idle’ bemoaning an uneventful youth, avoiding comparisons to Philip Larkin’s ‘I Remember, I Remember’ by the distracting use of cheerleader backing vocals and repetition of the phrase “Super-super-super-suicidal”.
As fun as this is [and it is fun; strong, mindless teen pop] Electra Heart starts to lose momentum in the second half. Having been led to expect a fully electronic album the last three tracks could have simply been lifted from the reject pile of the previous album. A cursory nod to Portishead-lite backing tracks is provided but, basically, Electra Heart starts with a bang and ends with a whimper.