Do you like the 1980s? Do you like freakishly awesome power pop? Then you need look no further this summer than the debut LP from MNDR, entitled Feed Me Diamonds. Amanda Warner has been bouncing around the scene for a couple years, but this year, she’s finally breaking on through to the other side. She got her first big break back in early 2010 when Mark Ronson asked her to contribute vocals to his Record Collection single “Bang Bang Bang”. Since then, Warner has been building her sound bit by bit, and with every careful step, MNDR gets better and better. Her 2010 extended play E.P.E. was a four track sucker-punch with bits and pieces of house and techno, mixed with enough 80s electro to distinguish her from other Brooklyn synth-pop. But with time, Warner has only gotten more honest with herself, writing massive emotional hooks that grab at your heart just as much as they drag you to the dance floor. Her newest, Feed Me Diamonds, is a near-perfect introduction for anyone who hasn’t already fallen in love with this rising star.
Watch MNDR’s video for “#1 In Heaven” and all you’ll be able to think about is the classic video for INXS track “Need You Tonight”. The backing vocal layering in the beautiful “I Go Away” is hauntingly reminiscent of the Kate Bush classic “Hounds Of Love”. Let’s face it - Amanda Warner is hopelessly in love with the 80s. But unlike so many artists on the scene today, Warner isn’t limited by this love. Her artistry and delivery don’t begin and end with tribute. Rather, her tracks shimmer with a dance pop shine that is just as progressive as anything you’ll see in her genre. Speaking of which, that’s kind of a hard one to pin down, isn’t it? “Stay” and “Blue Jean Youth” can fit in right next to Class Actress, Small Black, and other wonderful synth-pop artists on the Brooklyn scene right now. But with tunes like “Faster Horses” and resurrected E.P.E. track “U.B.C.L.”, MNDR pushes the BPM just a little too far to fit in the same DJ set as those. Rather, her experiments in house and Euro-EDM are an equally awesome albeit different version of Warner’s sound. What’s fun, though, is that her genre-blending pop majesty flows track to track like a dream. If Feed Me Diamonds is a bit too uppity for you, check your pulse.
Believe it or not, after all of the frills and embellishments, Feed Me Diamonds is heavy on the lyrics. Run of the mill dance tracks can afford to be emotionless, but Warner gives us a personable experience to go along with the beats. You can hear it in her voice. The way she pines on “Stay” and “Burning Hearts”, you can tell that Warner has had some heartbreak on the road to success, and she isn’t afraid to bear it all up on the high end of her vocal range. The title track is a tribute to performance artist Marina Abramovic, who Warner attributed much of the inspiration for the album to. The darkness of this track, as well as “Sparrow Voices” and “Sooner or Later” reminds us that Warner is beyond just writing a pop album to write a pop album. Don’t let any one aspect of Feed Me Diamonds fool you - Amanda Warner has a lot to offer, and her album is only a small example of this fact.
Feed Me Diamonds is out now digitally on Ultra Records. You can grab it on iTunes here. If you want to sample some more tracks, SPIN is streaming the entire album here for a limited time. MNDR will post solo tour dates on September 1st to her website. In the meantime, see if you can catch her opening for Duran Duran!