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If you were to directly compare the first two albums by Marina Diamandis, you'd be forgiven for feeling confused. In the same way if I told you Vladimir Putin has a fondness for Sex and the City and Mean Girls - it just doesn't add up.

The Welsh singer/songwriter's debut The Family Jewels was a wonky-pop record (remember that 'genre'?) that was a bit too heavy on the wonk. Through the record we were introduced to Marina's unpredictable wailing vocal style, awkward rhythmic twists and cartoonish lyrics. It had charm aplenty, and a few good songs, but for all of Marina's song writing eccentricity, the album was an unremarkable body of work.

Follow-up Electra Heart found her taking on an alter-ego (of which the record shared its name), heading off to Hollywood and getting severely lost in the process. Her quest for super stardom came at a price. The album was a whore house of A-list producers, including Diplo, Dr Luke, StarGate and Greg Kurstin amongst others. Each song was fucked with until all of its charming personality was well and truly spunked away in a flurry of ego and dollars. She said of the experience, "I was working with such huge people, like Dr Luke, they weren't going to listen to what I had to say about production. It was more like: 'What's the successful sound right now?' And really it's a shame for me to do that, because I'm not that type of artist. That was the gripe. It was nothing to do with the songs. I love the songs."

Given this dearth in quality, I'd half expected the bizarrely-titled FROOT to be like mining for diamonds and only coming up with turds. To my delight, FROOT is in fact a formation of pop gems. Having written all the songs herself and co-produced the record with David Kosten (Bat For Lashes, Everything Everything), it avoids the pitfalls of the last two records and starts a new period of maturity in her song writing. It might not be the flashiest pop record we'll hear this year but it will prove to be a highlight.

At first, 'Happy', an emancipatory ballad, seems like an odd choice to open proceedings. "I sang a hymn to bring me peace. And then it came, a melody....All the sadness inside of me, melted away like I was free." There's a discernible sense of aching; Marina's delivery is limp, as though she's run out of steam, whilst a sombre chord progression plays out on piano. Sounding sad but singing about being happy? This contrast actually sets up the lyrical themes quite well as the record is, in essence, about a break up and all the confusing stages of emotions that come with it.

She perks up on the title track and imagines herself as a ripe fruit waiting to be plucked by a beautiful man. A romping bass line propels the song into a retro futuristic disco pop mirage. Marina delves into the character of a cold temptress. Understated sass, if you will. It's a welcome change that Marina, who for so long has over-accentuated and over-acted every syllable to the point of parody, keeps her vocals in check across the album.

After all the steamy seducing on 'Froot', emotional capriciousness quickly sets in during 'I'm A Ruin', where she is already thinking about leaving. "It doesn't feel right and it doesn't seem fair. While I'm planning on moving on and you're still standing there." But like any real break-up, when the axe finally falls, the sight of blood soon makes one faint. 'Blue' opens with the rather tragic, "We've broken up and now I regret it." Oh dear. But just as we start to think Marina is simply a bit of a drama queen, she comes flying through the doors with 'Can't Pin Me Down', which gets to the heart of her conflict, "All these contradictions pouring out of me. Just another girl in the 21st century." It won't be hard for people to identify with this flip-flopping behaviour. We tip our hat to her for being brazen enough to say it all in such detail and so directly.

The beauty of this record lies in its simplicity. The music is unfussy. If we were feeling harsh we could say it plays it too safe when it comes to production and arrangements but then that would be ignoring her contemporaries who have given pop music the equivalent of a bleach enema in recent years; she's like Mozart in comparison. Whereas old songs like 'Mowgli's Road' felt like deliberate awkward falls, on FROOT the songs glide effortlessly into catchy melodies. Even when Marina goes completely off-piste on the lyrical themes she manages to slide her way in between the trees. For example 'Savages' rips into something resembling a post-enlightenment critique of the tension between civilizations and human instinct. "Another day, another tale of rape. Another ticking bomb to bury deep and detonate... Underneath it all, we're just savages. Hidden behind shirts, ties and marriages." It's incongruous amongst a host of heartbreak songs but she was right to keep it in, as it's a strong enough song to warrant its appearance. It makes you wonder if she might go further down this route next time around.

Either way, FROOT is her strongest album to date. It's an exciting prospect to see an artist come into her own on album number three. We hope the good form continues now she has found what appears to be her most effective, and true, voice.

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