Mika Life In Cartoon Motion

The British really, really love their nostalgia. What else could explain the huge success of the Darkness, the Scissor Sisters and almost any artist that makes music that sounds like it could have come out 25 years ago? The latest addition to that list is Mika, a Beirut-born 23-year-old now living in London who doesn’t try too hard to hide his influences. Right from the very start of his debut, Life In Cartoon Motion, he makes it obvious what to expect. By name-checking Freddie Mercury on "Grace Kelly” and borrowing heavily from "Fat Bottomed Girls” for his similarly themed "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful),” it is clear that he’s a Queen fan. And his falsetto vocals and overblown arrangements have a lot in common with his heroes. There’s more than a passing similarity to the Scissor Sisters as well, practically ensuring commercial success. In small, carefully selected doses Life In Cartoon Motion can qualify as well-executed, enjoyable pop music but it gets a little exhausting and overwhelming over the duration of an album. Plus, it doesn’t help that Mika’s love for kitsch and supposed empathy for the put upon seems almost insincere and calculated and will have anyone who listens closely skipping past the more maudlin moments.

(Casablanca/Universal) (Casablanca)