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Scissor Sisters
Scissor Sisters
Universal Records
www.scissorsisters.com


Take all the popular music of the 1970's, and roll it up into one neat little package… improve it with better sounds and drumbeats… stir it up a bit, throw in some silly lyrics… and you get Scissor Sisters! This record makes me cringe inside, because I like it so much. And I tell myself that I shouldn't like it at all, because it has very little that is common to the music that I love. But I can't hate it. Here's why:

"Laura" kicks this album off in high fashion, with an un-hateable energy that simply makes the booty want to move. It begins the album with the clanging, brilliantly produced piano that appears on the best tracks found here, and amazingly well produced drums. The vocals also nicely set up the quality that you'll find on just about every song; well produced, slightly dark at certain moments, and richly vibrant at others. The lead single "Take Your Mama" is hyper-infectious and will most certainly make you wish that you were at the very moment in some NYC club dancing your sweet ass off. It is like all the best parts of the worst years of Elton John all rolled into one song. Catchy piano licks, brilliant near-disco rhythms, and thickly harmonized vocals. The Sisters' cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" is nothing short of amazing. To take such a dark and timeless song, and set it to disco beats and delay heavy guitars takes some serious cajones. It is a brilliantly produced track, filled with captivating electronics and interesting vocal effects… It simply removes all the depth and turns the dark, meaningful song into a dance track. Which is okay if you are a New York City semi-disco party band.

Pulling out the John Lennon songwriting, and slowing things down quite a bit on "Mary", the band finally makes the listener think there is more depth to them than simply being an amazingly well practiced disco act. Some interesting saxophone work adds a nice depth to the song, but remains well within the 70's theme. Moving into the 80's just a bit on "Lovers In The Backseat", the less good songs of John Astley jump to my mind. FM synthesis rears its beautiful head, and the production becomes convoluted and beautiful. The lyrics on this album are very fascinating, and nowhere more so than on "Better Luck": "Like a detective without a case/ I'll magnify what you say and/ test the implications/ it could be you/ or it could be through/ before it even begins/ I'm a fish swimming without fins." There are plenty more straightforward disco tunes ("Filthy/ Gorgeous"), and moments that don't make me hate myself for liking this so much ("Music Is The Victim"). But the telling point, the time when it all comes full circle, and all the gay cards come together, is when you realize that the last song on the record is about Oz. Seriously. We get it. All the other cards pointed to the gay thing. We didn't need Oz to prove it. But, it is an awesome song. I hate to admit it…

This is an album of contradictions for me. Love it and hate it all at once. So for me, it's really all about the piano. And emulating Elton John. That is when the Scissor Sisters really put on their shine. The hallmarks on this record are the drumming and the piano playing… but let us not forget the insidiously catchy vocal lines and brilliantly written lyrics. The Scissor Sisters really show off their gay NYC style by dressing in a very burlesque style Village People/ Steven Tyler kind of motif. I'm sure the fashion people have a word for it. I'm not a fashion person, so forgive me. This band has panache, and I look forward to hearing what they do in the future.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:

1. Laura
2. Take Your Mama
3. Comfortably Numb
4. Mary
5. Lovers In The Backseat
6. Tits On The Radio
7. Filthy/Gorgeous
8. Music Is The Victim
9. Better Luck
10. It Can't Come Quickly Enough
11. Return To Oz


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Mike Doughty



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