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Album review: Mika's 'The Boy Who Knew Too Much'

September 21, 2009 |  5:26 pm

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On "The Boy Who Knew Too Much," British piano-popper Mika tackles the popular songwriters' gristle of teen angst but filters it through a cracked technicolor symphony of show-tune harmonies, careening falsettos and deliciously manic productions.

He covers an awful lot of ground here -- "Rain" is an electro-driven disco tune as sleek as a house cat, whereas "Blue Eyes" is a cheerfully hokey bit of island folk-pop. "We Are Golden" is a chip-shot successor to his breakout hit "Grace Kelly," making the best use of a creepy British children's choir since Pink Floyd.

Mika lets some sly, vaguely Oedipal humor into "Touches You," but lurking beneath the idiosyncrasy is some surprisingly rewarding writing. Ballads like "I See You" sag a bit by comparison, but then Mika will pull out something as gleefully absurd as the gender-tweaking, Sondheim-worthy "Toy Boy" and win you back all over again.

-- August Brown

Mika
"The Boy Who Knew Too Much"
Universal
Three stars

Albums are rated on a scale of one to four stars.

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