“Feed me Diamonds” – MNDR

3 stars (out of 5)

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Product DetailsMNDR is best known for being the shared lead vocalist on Mark Ronson’s last album’s first single, the eccentric “Bang Bang”. She is as charismatic a singer and performer as her vocals and video presence confirmed in this 2010 hit for Ronson and it’s taken 3 years for her full-length album to arrive. Her oldest song “C.L.U.B”, oddly re-titled “U.B.C.L” here, originally released in 2009, still sounds innovative and fresh and like the shockingly-ignored (at least commercially) Cocknbullkid, MNDR has the ability to write a pop song and become the kind of interesting pop star that once upon a time would have actually charted and been on TOTP. These days though, due to a uniformity of sound that doesn’t seem to want to budge (stadium dance or Adele), when it comes to Top 20 success she unfortunately doesn’t stand a chance. But let’s not worry about that, some of you reading this won’t even know what TOTP is and there are a thousand ways to promote music in 2012.

MNDR and her invisible partner in musical crime Peter Wade have made a brash, fashionable electronic dance album but thankfully its roots are in more traditional, song-based pop melodies. “#1 in Heaven”, (or Evan as MNDR endearingly pronounces it and not the similarly-titled Sparks song in case you’re wondering), is a big, euphoric singalong ‘Tell them I’m smiling, send them my greetings’ she joyfully refrains in a song that I would love to see in the top ten. The appropriately speeding “Faster Horses” shares equal billing as the best song here and “Stay” is based round a “Funky Drummer” loop, a sample used ad infinitum in late 80’s dance music, and adds a little shading to the overall pretty frantic pace and is the definition of the perfect album track. “Fall in Love with the Enemy” opens with a teeth-gnashing snyth that sounds a lot like a metallic “Hey Big Spender” and continues to dominate and charm in equal measure.

Burning Hearts” is an equally angular but more glacial track that really highlights MNDR’s personality with its cascading ‘oh, oh, oohs’ and perfect middle eight. All these little but so very important  touches demonstrates that she understands pop in a way someone like Robyn does and Cheryl Cole doesn’t. Vocally she is sometimes reminiscent of Kim Wilde and readers who know what TOPT stands for will also remember “Chequered Love” (I wonder if I can get this on tape?!).  “Feed Me Diamonds”, the title track, has the feeling of being an important song to MNDR and it does have a grandness and drama that anchors the album with some very eighties clanging and clattering going on before a middle tempo groove is established with the best vocal performance on the album.

The last quarter of the album is not as strong and the final songs start sounding like any electro indie female artist from the last 5 years or so; not bad but not up to the standard of  the brilliant first half. I hope that MNDR finds a way to promote this album effectively as there is more than a hint of star quality here and I would like to hear it develop. And it actually gets an extra half a star as well.