It was always inevitable after the success of Mika that the record industry would be clamoring for any floppy-haired singer/songwriter whose sound was steeped in the '70s piano pop of Elton John and Billy Joel. Following in the footsteps of Julian Velard and Jack McManus, London-born Italian-Irish vocalist Julian Perretta is the latest act to benefit from the "try to clone what's successful" formula that most labels adhere to, having landed a deal with Polydor Records, attracted the attention of Simon Fuller (who signed him to his 19 Entertainment management company), and supported the likes of Beyoncé, Girls Aloud, and Mark Ronson on their U.K. tours. Like his counterparts, his retro sound has yet to catch on in his homeland, but has made something of an impression in France, where the colorful kazoo-featuring lead single "Wonder Why" and the debut album Stitch Me Up reached number one and number three, respectively. It's not hard to see why the album's 11 tracks perhaps struck a bigger chord across the Channel, as there's a definite European flavor to the record, whether it's the Gallic waltz-style organs that underpin the baroque pop of "1986"; the chic synth pop of "If I Ever Feel Better," a slightly funkier cover of Versailles' natives Phoenix's original 2001 single; or the dramatic falsetto-led nouvelle chanson "Say You Don't Mind." But equally, it's difficult to see why U.K. fans of "Grace Kelly" and "Love Today" have yet to latch onto the likes of the hook-laden music hall of "King for a Day," the string-soaked soul-pop of "Kings & Queens," or the stomping indie disco of the title track, all of which are as equally theatrical, jaunty, and brain-lodgingly catchy. Stitch Me Up occasionally struggles to straddle that fine line between unashamed guilty pleasure and plainly annoying pastiche, but overall, it's a confident and highly melodic debut from an artist who deserves to steal some of Mika's thunder.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien