SXSW Review: Marina And The Diamonds

SXSW Review of Marina from the Chop Shop/Atlantic Records party. Photos from her set at the Levi’s/FADER FORT by Anthony Demby

Marina Lambrini Diamandis is a quirky one. The Greek/Welsh singer, obviously aware of her stunning beauty, plays off of our fascination with looks, wearing crazy costumes with pig noses. As next in line to enter the “quirky female phase” of the British Invasion (see Elie Goulding, VV Brown, and Little Boots), her live set plays up the crazy (see Mogawi’s Road and her “cookoo” entrance), and adds a little extra dose of eccentricism.

Yes, she seems like she could be this next generation’s Bjork, and even could possibly pass for her daughter. But how does all of this quirkiness transfer on stage? Actually quite well. Her semi-operatic voice might be off-putting to some, but on stage it’s almost perfect. Like most of the classically trained British females before her, she takes command of the platform, instantly becoming the center of attention. Her band (let’s just call them The Diamonds), play to keep up as she went through choice tracks from her latest album The Family Jewels.

And like those before her, she plays her own instruments and writes her own songs. That personal touch really shows when she is onstage, especially when she sings “Hollywood”, afterward seeming surprised that a slightly anti-American song would get such a great response in Texas.

But can she sell in America? That’s the $64,000 question. Her songs obviously have enough pop appeal to get on radio, and her team at Atlantic are surely backing her–but is she a tad too quirky? Only time will tell.

Check the video below from my homie Arjan: