Despite reportedly leaving RCA Records over her plans to pursue a more indie sound, 2008 X-Factor finalist Diana Vickers now returns from her three-year absence with a record almost entirely devoid of any guitars whatsoever.
Indeed, co-written with Xenomania chief lyricist Miranda Cooper, 'Music To Make Boys Cry' is a full-throttle foray into 80s-tinged disco-pop which has far more in common with her talent show rendition of Blondie's 'Call Me' than the cutesy folk-pop of her chart-topping debut, 'Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree.'
Stalling at the agonising position of No.76 last month, the early Madonna-ish fairytale of 'Cinderella' suggests that those who voted for the Blackburn vocalist during her barefoot-performing, Eoghan Quigg-hugging days aren't so enamoured with her new glossy synth-led direction.
Which is a shame as while the ghosts of Holly Valance, Gabriela Cilmi and Rachel Stevens' similarly infectious but commercially disappointing last efforts hover over the majority of its twelve songs, there's an abundance of irresistible pop hooks here, most notably on the bubbling electro of the title track and the squelchy techno-pop of 'Better In French.'
Away from the neon-lit dancefloor, 'Mad At Me' is a surprisingly convincing stab at Prince-esque funk featuring Vickers' most seductive vocal to date, 'Mr. Postman' is an enchanting slice of kittenish lounge-pop which recalls Emma Bunton's journeys back to the Swinging Sixties, while the slinky electro R&B of 'Dead Heat' is just one of many tracks which prove that she's now toned down the breathless kookiness that once made her such a divisive figure.
Admittedly, the aimless blend of EDM bleeps and dubstep beats on 'Smoke' is a half-hearted bandwagon-jumping attempt which feels totally out of place amongst the album's predominantly retro production.
But it's the only dud on a vibrant and unexpectedly glittery second effort which deserves to find a much wider audience than it will inevitably receive.
Jon is a music and film obsessive from Wigan. His current favourite acts are Haim, AlunaGeorge, London Grammar, Disclosure and Jessie Ware. He has tried but he still doesn't really get the fuss about 'Blurred Lines' and 'I Love It.'
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