Album: Mika, The Boy Who Knew Too Much (Island)

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The Independent Culture

According to Mika, the songs on his second album deal with his teenage years – which presumably means that the multi-million-selling Life In Cartoon Motion dealt with his early childhood, which would explain why it sounded like the musical equivalent of a dressing-up box being ransacked.

But frankly, it's hard to tell the difference between the two albums, especially when "Toy Boy" sounds like Andy Pandy and Looby-Loo having a spat in their basket (ask your mum). Once again, Mika's undoubted talent and energy is expended on ideas rooted in music-hall jollity and delivered with the camp enthusiasm of Freddie Mercury in a tent. There are occasional hints of alternative directions – the all-too-brief burst of "West End Girls"-style Anglo-rap that enlivens "Rain", the springy African guitar motif carrying "Blue Eyes", the double-time flamenco handclaps of "Blame It On The Girls" – but they're quickly subsumed within the recurrent waves of Queenish glam-pop, Sparks-style piano and piercing falsetto which make The Boy Who Knew Too Much effectively just Life In Cartoon Motion part two, with even more vertiginous mood-swings and infatuations. As with Mariah Carey, there's no denying Mika's technical prowess, but there's an increasing sense of it being frittered away on slim ideas tricked out with layers of interlocking vocals: froth and irritation in equal measure.

Download this: Blue Eyes, Rain, Blame It On The Girls