Ultra, 2012

“Pop music is a platform to say something. You don’t have to only talk about parties.”

Interesting quote from ex-noise artist now shiny electropop-idol-in-waiting, Amanda Warner. Pop music has always been a platform to say something, but this shouldn’t make you believe that Warner is positing herself as Lady Bono or worse, Lady Gaga.

Trying to impart pop music with some kind of message in this day and age is redundant, unless you spell it out in easy to digest pieces. The only message spelt out on Warner’s debut Feed Me Diamonds is about going to the club. Messages about governments and banks and whatever else motivates MNDR is buried under the weight of synths and sequenced parts.

Given Warner’s eclectic/experimental background with previous outfit Triangle, you’d expect some cage-rattling pop deconstruction, or a tour-de-force of her outré influences. This is sadly not the case and would go completely against the grain of the image she wants to portray (if you excuse the MS paint cover art). MNDR is the epitome of the underground artist that operates and remains underground. This forced elevation, which came courtesy of a chance meeting with Mark Ronson and her co-writing of worldwide chart hit “Bang Bang Bang”, was a lucky break, but one that Warner is going to find hard to maintain on her own.

This isn’t a total slam on Warner or Feed Me Diamonds. Having been familiar with her output (and adored past single “Caligula”), it’s not hard to feel disappointed with the cookie-cutter electro tunes she’s put forward. Some tracks suffer from style over substance, others from irritating choice of effects (the synthetic chainsaws that tear down “Burning Hearts”). When it comes to writing dedicated dancefloor movers (“#1 in Heaven”, “Faster Horses”) and tears-in-check ballads (“Stay”, “I Go Away”) Warner runs a good race, but where the intent is vague, the song falls flat.

The only track that isn’t beaten to death by technology and MNDR-isms (those goddamn “oh-uh-oh” catcalls), is the “Knock on Wood” disco feel of “Waiting”. It breezes in like a breath of fresh air and by the time it finishes you wish every other track on the album had been handled with the same uncomplicated gloves. See, Feed Me Diamonds tries too damn hard to be likeable, and that just doesn’t suit Warner at all.