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. There are some wonderful bits: the urgent, reverb-accented Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer); the sole ballad, Cut Straight to the Heart, co-written and produced by the reliably gloomy Ed Harcourt, who has stripped Ellis-Bextor of her froideur here and made her sing from the gut. But the bulk of the record is shopping-mall pop that was probably expensive to make, but sounds depressingly cheap.
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian