Live Review: Marina // Brighton Centre, Brighton – 5.11.19

Greek goddess MARINA has taken many forms over the last ten years. First, we were presented with Marina and the Diamonds, The Family Jewels, an experimental, if not sometimes melancholy, examination of the social values and commercialism of the late noughties. Marilyn Monroe-esqe Electra Heart fulfilled an iconic role as a pop pastel princess with suicidal undertones, whilst Froot injected a splash of vibrant neon that slammed the door in the face of her polished predecessor. But we enter a new era. MARINA, now 34, has lost all previous gimmicks in the creation of her latest reincarnation, Love + Fear.

A powerful concoction of isolated vocals and subtle synth patterns, latest single ‘Handmade Heaven’, is chosen to open the final set of a two-leg worldwide tour. With performers entrancing the audience with interpretive dance around the pedestal upon which MARINA is stood, the emotion and poignancy of the track is conveyed, and sets a breath-taking scene for the remainder of the show.

Titled LOVE, the tracks from first half of the evening focused, not only on that very emotion in it’s many formulations, but on how that love shapes identity. Her first ever charting track, MARINA‘s “Hollywood” tells a tale of a society obsessed with fame and fortune, of being loved by others. “Primadonna” expresses an extreme, cold, hard self-love, whilst “I Am Not A Robot” takes that self-love and brands it acceptable to admit your flaws and vices. “Superstar” stresses idolisation of another, whilst “Orange Trees” is a calming reminder to love your roots, your origins, and above all else, the beauty of nature.

“Believe in Love” opens the second half of the set, FEAR. The lyrics of “Bubblegum Bitch”, “I’ll chew you up and I’ll spit you out // ‘Cause that’s what young love is all about // So pull me closer and kiss me hard // I’m gonna pop your bubblegum heart” mirror the coldness of “Primadonna”, whilst suggesting a careless self-protective lack of care when handling other’s emotions. The irregular drumbeats of “Oh No!” create an off-tempo undertone, whilst “Baby” mourns a relationship that never was and now never will be.

But it’s the ultimate expression of FEAR, electro-indie-pop banger “How To Be A Heartbreaker” that provides the audience with one last pump of adrenaline before closing the set. Over the course of 90 minutes, MARINA has transported the crowd through a decade of music and emotions. Carefully curated to show the ins and outs of two of the most prominent emotions, what MARINA has presented the crowd with is not a set list, it is art.

Author avatar
Kate Eldridge

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