Release Date: Jun 6, 2011
Record label: EBGB's
Over a decade on from that titanic chart battle with Victoria Beckham and subsequent multi-platinum debut album, the poshest woman in British pop, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, is still clinging onto a career which, rather unfairly, has been met with a wave of indifference ever since. Perhaps sensing that this is her last-chance saloon moment, Ellis-Bextor has assembled a hugely impressive who's who of dance music for her fourth effort and first release through her own EBGB's label, Make a Scene. Unfortunately, the fact that much of the album has been cobbled together from singles sporadically released over the past two years and recordings originally intended for a never-materialized 2008 greatest-hits set means that, despite its star-studded roll call, it doesn't feel as fresh as it should.
Now that Sophie Ellis-Bextor has her own label, she's doing what she damn well pleases with her first album in four years, such as releasing it first in Russia. But in terms of musical direction, she's a follower: Make a Scene's apparent aim is to establish the plummy disco singer as the rich man's Kylie Minogue. She delves into the same seam of busy electropop that informed Kylie's last two albums, and at times the only difference is Ellis-Bextor's regal diction, which has the effect of making her sound mightily bored.
One amazing track rather overshadows the rest of this fourth album. Tom Hocknell 2011 Coming across like a less-cynical Cheryl Cole, Sophie Ellis-Bextor is such a quintessential singles artist that is hard to see why she bothers with albums – and this fourth attempt adds little to the argument. Roping in Ed Harcourt and Metronomy’s Joseph Mount on writing duties exposes her indie past, but otherwise this is business as usual with Brighton’s Freemasons, Calvin Harris, Richard X and Armin Van Buuren credited with co-writes.
The sheer breadth of music covered on [a]Sophie Ellis-Bextor[/a]’s fourth album is, frankly, incredible. Still only 32, and with “the most memorable chart scuffle since Britpop” under her belt (both accolades proudly mentioned in her latest press release, although we barely remembered that ‘Groovejet…’ was out at the same time as Victoria Beckham’s first single), [b]‘Make A Scene’[/b] sees her straddle a multitude of different genres.“Pop, disco, nu-disco and 1980s electronica,” cries the accompanying written bumpf. Except… all the songs here sound pretty much the same, like [b]‘Murder On The Dancefloor’[/b] put through a [a]Calvin Harris[/a] filter.