Over the past decade or so Marina (previously Marina & The Diamonds) has gone from strength to strength, with her sound changing across each of her four previous releases. She’s back with a new album, Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land, and it’s possible my favourite release of hers, apart from her debut The Family Jewels.
By Jane Howkins
I might be in the minority here but I’ve always preferred Marina’s folksy, singer-songwriter side to her pop singer side, and whilst she’s still a great songwriter and does still occasionally produce tracks like that, ever since Electra Heart her music seems to have become more mainstream, which I found a little disappointing. The tracks on Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land are still quite poppy in parts, but they sound more like a natural evolution from the style of songs on The Family Jewels, which is why I’ve enjoyed this album so much.
The tracks here are poppy but they don’t sound so mainstream as some of the other stuff she’s created recently, and it sounds like a perfect mix between styles. The first four tracks on the album are fantastic and I also really enjoyed New America – Marina’s songwriting has developed greatly and the mix of different styles is great. Whilst Marina has never strayed away from hard subjects, she also appears to have taken on a more political side here, with tracks about feminism (Mans’s World) and climate change (Purge The Poison) present on Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land, and there are several tracks that see Marina supporting LGBT rights (which shouldn’t really come as a surprise to her fans, as she’s always been very supportive of the LGBT movement). It’s fabulous to hear a mainstream pop singer singing and writing songs about real issues, which seems quite rare nowadays.
There are a couple of filler songs towards the back end of the album, but generally Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land is a great record, and I’m pleased to see Marina heading down this road again. Those into her more poppier side will still find plenty to love here and older fans may also see this album as a welcome surprise, so it comes highly recommended from me. It seems like Marina is reclaiming her past in a way, and I would love to hear more of this side of her in the future.