Album review: MIKA – No Place In Heaven

Republic Records/Universal [Released 13.11.15]

Now a quick rant about guilty pleasures in music. For me there is no such thing, music is either good or bad and is there to be enjoyed and share. I know we like genres and these can help in discovering new music but this guilty pleasure is just marketing baloney. Take Mika, an artist with a great vocal very reminiscent of Freddie Mercury in his musical adaptability. Not your average fare for rock fans, but you are missing a treat as this album is chock full of 70′s themed pop and pomp.

This a two CD special edition with disc one featuring his album ‘No Place In Heaven’ released earlier this year in the summer. It has everything from the harmony vocal overload on ‘All She Wants’ through to the throw away pop fun of ‘Boum Boum Boum’. Mika shows a more serious side on ‘No Place In Heaven’, a song not unlike Freddie Mercury’s solo work. ‘Hurts’ with Mika and a piano backing is another moving song. Even in a stripped down version this song has layered backing vocals building to a crescendo on the chorus. I will admit some of the overtly disco numbers like ‘Je Chante’ have me exercising the skip button!

The second disc has Mika performing live backed by L’Orchestre Synphonique de Montreal. The set pulls songs from across his four albums to date and the songs come out with some fresh sounds. His big hit ‘Grace Kelly’ sounds wonderful in the orchestral setting and listening to ‘Boum Boum Boum’ you could be transported to a nightclub in the 1930′s.

‘Relax (Take It Easy)’ is done like a West End ballad and ‘Happy Ending’ he uses the female backing vocalists to good effect. Proof that a good song can be preformed in many styles and still sound good. It could have easily veered into Michale Buble territory, luckily it doesn’t.

Two CD’s of pop bliss and fans of Mika will be drawn in the second disc of orchestral reworkings of his music. Perfectly timed just in time for Christmas! ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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