Four years since his last release, MIKA is back. ‘My Name is Michael Holbrook’ hit shelves on Friday, and marks a curious musical renaissance for the 36 year-old superstar.
The 13-track LP opens with ‘Tiny Love’, an unmistakably rock-opera style feat which sees our new leading man, ‘Michael Holbrook’, falling head over heels:
‘And if it all goes bad
And our love sits like the sun,
I’d give up a hundred thousand loves
For just this one.’
Lustful bop ‘Ice Cream’ follows, in a ‘Club Tropicana’-esque wave of synths and sensuality. ‘Platform Ballerinas’ and ‘Sanremo’ are similarly up-tempo romps, which can’t help but sound like Ricky Martin B-sides. That, in itself, is no bad thing: the singer leaves ample room for more pensive and personal subject matter elsewhere on the album. Take ‘Paloma’, a heartfelt ode to MIKA’s sister which references her near-fatal fall from an apartment window back in 2010. Through seventh chords and sombre strings, we see a childlike vulnerability that had not reared its head over the course of the singer’s four previous studio albums.
‘My Name is Michael Holbrook’ is an undeniably robust collection of new music; whilst there’s admittedly no stand-out ‘Grace Kelly’ moment here, there’s impressive lyrical substance set to the tunes of classic 80s dance pop. Will MIKA manage to disrupt the charts with this hodgepodge selection of George Michael-tinged tunes? I suppose I gotta have faith.