One of my favorite things about being a music obsessive is occasionally stumbling upon either a great album that I had no expectations for or something initially unassuming that only reveals its greatness over time. I first came to this Welsh artist via my friend Howard, who posted about her third album early on (it’s his #1 of this year); I was familiar with the name but not the music. My initial impression was that of an agreeable listen and nothing much more. Still, the bubbly title track soon became an irresistible earworm and before long, “I’m A Ruin”, with its dynamic shift from verse to chorus and rather Kate Bush-like wordless vocals on the latter part broke me down. The rest of Froot gradually fell into place, beginning with its stripped-down opener, “Happy”, where Marina Diamandis lovingly sings, “I found what I’d been looking for in myself,” with the force of a sheet of ice rapidly melting, revealing a warmth so open and powerful that it hurts. Checking out her previous records, I was startled to discover how much of a departure this one is from them. Eschewing up-to-the-minute (over)production for a more nuanced, timeless sound, Froot continues to resonate more with each passing month: it’s now almost my favorite album of the year.
Favorite tracks: “Happy”, “Froot”, “I’m A Ruin”, “Blue”, “Savages”
“I’m A Ruin”: