Album: Mika

Life in Cartoon Motion, CASABLANCA
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The Independent Culture

With "Grace Kelly" atop the singles charts, Mika offers the strongest British contender yet in the Guilty Pleasures arena of 1970s revivalism thus far dominated by the Scissor Sisters. Born in the Lebanon, but brought up in Europe, Mika has the exotic, multi-national background of his hero Freddie Mercury, not to mention the operatic interests (as a boy he sang in the chorus of a Royal Opera House production of a Strauss opera), and the fascination with cheesy kitsch that laps around this debut album, swamping any serious ambitions. It's one thing emulating Freddie on "Grace Kelly", but another thing entirely to add a ludicrous Dixieland jazz-band to a silly pop trifle like "Lollipop": novelty imposes a short shelf-life on any artwork, and this is a more fragile example than most. The Jimmy Somerville stylings of disco-fodder like "Love Today" and "Relax (Take It Easy)" are just as dated, but the most questionable track here is the patronising "Big Girl", a back-handed "appreciation" of the larger lady complete with offensive lines like "Walks into the room/Feels like a big balloon".

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Grace Kelly", "Any Other World"

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