Mika - album review
Life in Cartoon Motion (Island)
Let’s play Spot the Influence. Queen! The Communards! Frankie Goes To Hollywood! Just when you’ve got Mika pinned as a retro-glam Hi NRG soundalike, he whaps the horns out for a Blur-ry knockabout caper on ‘Billy Brown’. Which sounds a bit like ‘Penny Lane’. And ‘Daydream Believer’. He’s like a human iPod Shuffle, or the logical successor to Soulwax and Jive Bunny.
The thing is, it’s not plagiarism. It’s totally unapologetic thievery, and you have to admire his cheek. On current number one ‘Grace Kelly’ Mika even admits that he ‘tried a little Freddie’. It’s the Scissor Sisters’ trick: appealing simultaneously to Radio Two nostalgia and angular disco kids (‘Stuck in the Middle’ actually opens with the Thomas the Tank Engine riff from ‘Laura’), and, a couple of duff Gary Barlow moments aside, it’s joyous and stupidly good exercise for your cheek muscles.