“Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land” was my introduction to MARINA and, seeing the sentiment towards some of her other albums, I feel this necessarily wasn’t the best introduction. Whilst the production is consistently catchy and stellar, capitalising on all the best parts of synthpop, the quality throughout all the album’s other qualities ultimately vary way too much to make this record cohesive or immersive. As I just mentioned, the one element that drew me into this album’s atmosphere was its sound, which was always quite nice. Bursting with instrumental kick and vibrancy, each track contained life, life that alleviated many of the weaker elements and, in the record’s high points, made it quite the enjoyable time. Marina’s vocal performances also worked quite nicely with it, which made the album’s veneer seem quite pretty. That being said, when I dig deeper, I didn’t really find all that much that I liked. Call me no fun, but the lyrics came across as quite iffy for me. Although it was abundant with great messages, the writing constantly led itself into cliches, which just made some songs an absolute drag. I just felt there was nothing new being said thematically on this record, which just made me feel that my investment was a little pointless at its worst. Consequently, due to this stark difference between elements, the experience this record offered was just awkward, which made my time not as nice or smooth as I would’ve liked. “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land” thrives off its lively and entrancing production, but its lack of lyrical and thematic density, unfortunately, drags the experience down to one that’s only solid at its best.
Best Tracks: Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land, Purge The Poison, I Love You But I Love Me More
Worst Tracks: Venus Fly Trap, Highly Emotional People, New America