Music: Marina and the Diamonds * *
As a barometer of future success, the annual BBC Sound of ... poll has a hugely impressive track record. This year, Greek-Welsh singer Marina Diamandis is deemed the second most likely to make a commercial breakthrough (Ellie Goulding came first) and it would take a brave soul indeed to bet against her.
On the face of it, she has it all -- a photogenic look, an ability to talk the talk, a big record company push behind her and a debut collection that, superficially at least, recalls such contemporaries as Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga and Little Boots.
But the reality is that while The Family Jewels boasts several songs made for wall-to-wall airplay, her music simply isn't in the same ball park as the aforementioned trio, particularly Florence. Few of the songs manage to lodge themselves in the memory and, worse, there's a distinct air of affectation to much of the material.
Even more damning is the sense the super-slick production job is trying to mask the inherent hollowness of the actual compositions, something that makes a mockery of the fanciful talk that she's the new Kate Bush. Oh No! is particularly notable in that regard. There are some silver linings. Numb is the sort of intriguing piano-led number that Regina Spektor has made her own, while Girls is a giddy pop rush in the vein of Gwen Stefani.
Burn it: Numb; Girls