Wednesday 30 May 2012

Scissor Sisters - Magic Hour

The Scissor Sisters have had a rather inverted career path.  Their award-winning self-titled debut album, released way back in 2003, spawned a number of anthemic singles.  Since then, the New York band have been attempting to replicate this early success, but have never reached their previous highs.  2006's 'Ta-Dah' was disappointing, despite the huge single I Don't Feel Like Dancin', whilst 2010 follow-up 'Night Work' took the band in a more disco-orientated direction that developed from 'Scissor Sisters'' Filthy/Gorgeous, but felt shallow.

'Magic Hour' continues the disco theme, for better or worse.  Gone is the kooky pop of their earlier days, in favour of synth-based dancefloor pop which lacks some of their overtly camp personality.  Yet 'Magic Hour' is something of a history of disco with its range of influences.  Year of Living Dangerously has a distinct 80s flavour with its processed drums, whilst Best In Me shares similarities with Madonna's La Isla Bonita (albeit in modern fashion).  Self Control could be taken straight from the 90s, the synth riff practically stolen from Robin S Show Me Love.  Other tracks have a more contemporary, almost hip-hop feel, namely Keep Your Shoes with its stuttering beat and previous single Shady Love (not least for the inclusion of Azealia Banks).  From these admittedly enjoyable tracks, it's clear Scissor Sisters are no longer the boundary pushing band they once were.

There's still plenty of quirky humour here though, most notably in Let's Have A Kiki with its amusing vocal sampling and carnival feel ensuring it becomes a modern gay party anthem.  The album's final track F*** Yeah similarly features vapid, yet comical, lyrics ("touch my updo - I'll cut you") and plenty of fragmented melodic hooks like a pastiche of current RnB-dance-pop trends.  Indeed, the band excel at carefree pop, which current single Only The Horses exemplifies, providing the album's catchiest and most euphoric chorus.  At their worst, San Luis Obispo is little more than a novelty song from a really bad holiday in Mexico, whilst slowest track Secret Life of Letters is dull by comparison to the exultant fun on offer elsewhere.

The Scissor Sisters have always been about unadultered escapism, which is clearly displayed on this disco-fuelled album.  It may not be as inspired as their earlier material (the real magic hour), but 'Magic Hour' contains some of the band's best work since.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Only The Horses
* Let's Have A Kiki
* F*** Yeah

Listen: 'Magic Hour' is available now.

Watch: The band continue their UK tour throughout October.