MARINA - 'Love + Fear'

7/10

At the end of last month, we were all surprised when MARINA chose to drop the first half of her new double album. With no preemptive warning, the frontwoman unveiled 'Love', giving us a strong indication as to what we could expect when the full release is released. Now with both halves of the record available, we can further delve into her fourth full-length 'Love + Fear', and see exactly what the contrast is between these two collections.

When we first heard 'Love', our immediate thoughts were surrounding its uplifting and glossy production. While MARINA has always circumnavigated the commercial pop sound her entire career, the first half of this album saw her embrace it fully, filled with euphoric and upbeat pop cuts. But as we listen to it next to 'Fear', we see that this latter portion is far more in the comfort zone of the frontwoman. While it isn't quite the full "day and night" contrast we were thinking it would be, it uses a far more haunted pretence than 'Love', giving the record a more shadowed appeal and shows that she hasn't completely left her roots in the lurch.

While there isn't much more to shout about compared to what we heard on 'Love' alone, 'Love + Fear' manages to keep itself above water throughout and delivers a strong return for the ambitious popster. Diverse and eclectic in its delivery, this fourth full-length sees her return with a confidence and swagger we rarely see in the mainstream these days.

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