Album: Katie Melua, The House (Dramatico)

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The Independent Culture

William Orbit produces, Guy Chambers helps out, Mike Batt hovers.

English pop not in the tradition of the Beatles, Kinks and Blur but of Lloyd Webber, Queen and Robbie Williams: elaborate, operatic, camp, eggy – showbiz, basically.

It's an impressive effort in the way that musical theatre can be impressive. Melua's writing is as playfully, sincerely adolescent as ever, while Orbit's sound is transparent and huge: electronic, acoustic and orchestral. The House feels as if it should come with a glossy programme for your lap.