Marnie, Crystal World

Victoria Segal

By Victoria Segal

on 06.27.13 in Reviews
A solo debut with atmosphere to burn

As a member of seductively austere quartet Ladytron, Helen Marnie has impressive electro-pop credentials. Her solo debut feels less strict, less pristine, as if all the wires and circuitry are slowly starting to melt down. Recorded in Iceland with Ladytron compadre Daniel Hunt, Crystal World doesn’t quite thaw all the ice around her voice, but there is an emotional heat to “We Are the Sea” and “Violet Affair” that softens the album around the edges. Natasha Khan’s dreamier extravagances are detectable on “Gold” and “The Wind Breezes On,” expansive electronic horizon-chasers that hint at existential crises. Best of all, however, are the moments where the drama becomes explicit: the increasingly ominous hush of “Laura,” or the space-Goldfrapp of “High Road,” sweet dreams cut with an dash of sour. It may still be touched by a synthesized chill, but Crystal World has atmosphere to burn.