Marina
Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land


3.5
great

Review

by MyMentality USER (2 Reviews)
January 3rd, 2022 | 19 replies


Release Date: 06/11/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Obsessed with the mess that's America"

It's 2021. Mother Nature's dying. Men are still d***s and women aren't appreciated enough. America is broken beyond repair. We live in a bleak reality, and Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land reminds us of that. It's heavy… But it's a whole lot of fun!

Marina has always had a quirky way of delivering messages through music. Whether it's the satirical brilliance of 'Teen Idle', or the cynical genius of 'Hollywood', it's all part of what makes Marina, well, Marina! She's the Queen of tongue in cheek. And her peculiar sense of humour is why I fell in love with her in the first place. However, Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land edges for more of a darker tone. Take 'Man's World' for example…

"Marilyn's bungalow, it's number seven
In the pink palace where men held her legend
Owned by a Sheikh who killed thousands of gay men
I guess that's why he bought the campest hotel in LA then"

It's a striking moment, elevated by Marina's dark humour. That being said, the less politically fuelled tracks fall a bit flat in comparison. The lyrics on 'I Love You But I Love Me More' steer towards generic breakup song tropes, the same follows suit for the likes of 'Flowers'. Whilst these are far from terrible, they stick out like a sore thumb here.

Musically, this album shares more in common with her debut 'The Family Jewels' than any of her recent work. Featuring a bigger emphasis towards pop-rock, songs like the title track and Purge The Poison feel like a nice call back to Marina's earlier roots. There's a great sense of energy in these songs, they're uplifting and incredibly contagious. I particularly enjoy the bass heavy instrumental of 'Venus Fly Trap' and rhythm section of 'New America', providing more of an alternative sound to the mix. 80's synth pop also seems to be a big influence throughout this album, without feeling too forced. It's not quite as diverse as The Family Jewels, but it's more cohesive for the most part.

Marina's delivery is exceptionally tight, especially on the higher tempo tracks. She still has a good range to her vocals, even if it's a little subdued compared to her earlier work. Not only this, but it genuinely feels less impactful overall. Not sure if this is a stylistic choice, but none of the hooks quite reach the monumental peaks of the first two albums. Everything seems to be delivered in moderation. That being said, if you wasn't a big fan of her more bombastic moments in The Family Jewels and Electra Heart, you'll definitely find this more tolerable.

The ballads, whilst melodically harmless, are a little dry in comparison to the rest of Ancient Dreams. It's almost like Marina wrote 60% of the album with a clear direction, and threw a few ballads in to fill the voids. They're decent songs, especially 'Flowers' which has a beautiful chorus, but they don't feel right on here. They would work better as a separate entity.

Ancient Dreams in A Modern Land is a bold step in the right direction for Indie-pop juggernaut Marina. It's an enjoyable album, stacked full of infectious hooks and tremendous energy. Marina has a lot to say about the world, and delivers this in both a captivating and elequent way. It might not reach the peaks of her first two albums, but for the most part, this is a more cohesive package.


user ratings (64)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
MyMentality
January 3rd 2022


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't normally do reviews, I just thought this album deserves a thread. I also think a lot of people are sleeping on this one, it's well worth a listen in my opinion!



Recommended tracks: Venus Fly Trap, Man's World, Purge The Poison

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2022


5602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Agreed. The latter half loses steam with too many ballads, the first is awesome. The album was supposed to have a lot more attitude.

Digging: Papir - 7

MyMentality
January 3rd 2022


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tracks 1-6 are an easy 4/5 then the rest is a 3/5. It definitely feels disjointed towards the end. Still a great album though, Man's World is fantastic!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2022


5602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

This album was the first Marina LP that clicked for me and made me listen to a lot of her stuff last year. Froot is my favorite, but this one is close behind. Man's World and Purge the Poison are my favorites at the moment.

MyMentality
January 3rd 2022


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album rekindled my love for her. I actually dropped off when Froot initially released, but upon revisiting it I realised how good that album actually is. Probably my favourite now too! Each album has its perks, can't comment on Love + Fear yet though.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2022


5602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Some tracks on Love + Fear grew on me after a few listens. It's her most bland album I think and gets too close to standard radio pop. True, Handmade Heaven, Orange Trees, Soft To Be Strong and Enjoy Your Life are my favorites. It could have been trimmed to 10 solid tracks tbh.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2022


12378 Comments


I have only checked Froot and liked it. Might give this one a chance too.

MyMentality
January 3rd 2022


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is much more poppier sounding than Froot, but a fun listen nevertheless.

Ebola
January 4th 2022


4251 Comments


why does the album cover look like that

ChaoticVortex
January 4th 2022


1259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

After the dull greyness of Love + Fear, this was a delight to listen. Froot of course still stands out from her discography, but there are real bangers on this one.

Sinternet
January 4th 2022


24640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i like flowers tbh but yeah the rest of the ballads are the only things that hold this back

Digging: Megumi Acorda - Unexpectedly

BallsToTheWall
January 4th 2022


50706 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I bought a shirt of this album and wore it once or twice before losing it. A damn shame because Marina and this album is the shit!

Digging: Nuovo Testamento - New Earth

MrGlass
January 5th 2022


486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was so hyped on the singles but felt let down especially by the second half of this and haven't really revisited it since release. need to give it another try

Digging: Fit for an Autopsy - Oh What the Future Holds

MyMentality
January 5th 2022


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I feel like this is an album which peaks upon the first few playthroughs and then wears a little thin over time. Froot had the complete opposite effect for me, took a couple of plays for everything to *click* but I can't get enough of it now! This is a great introductory album to Marina, instantly accessible and an easy listen.

alamo
January 7th 2022


4516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bonus tracks released today lets goooo

MyMentality
January 7th 2022


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Should've swapped the bonus tracks (Pink Convertible and Free Woman) with Flowers and Goodbye. These make a lot more sense within the context of the album. Was hoping for some more upbeat tunes though, but they're OK.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2022


5602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Same here, I hoped at least one of these 3 new tracks would be a banger.

MyMentality
January 18th 2022


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Had a few listens to Love + Fear since reviewing this. Honestly, it's not terrible, it just lacks the charisma which she has in pretty much... Everything else she's done. I do enjoy a few songs from it though, especially the more atmospheric stuff. I really like Believe in Love, Life is Strange and I also have a soft spot for Orange Trees. The rest of it is super generic, if harmless.

brandontaylor
January 27th 2022


1136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought this was a really great rebound after L+F, which was a good pop album but so disappointing by Marina's standards. Sure the lyrics completely lack any subtlety but thats part of the charm.



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