Album Review: Scissor Sisters – Night Work
Polydor Records (28 June 2010)
Diminutive pop princess Kylie Minogue finally made a long-overdue appearance on the stage at Glastonbury last week, performing with the Scissor Sisters in their latest single, ‘Any Which Way’. That Kylie chose to perform with the Scissor Sisters says a lot about her and New York’s finest electro export. Both are marking a stunning return to form, with Kylie’s Aphrodite, due out on 5 July, set to undo the damage of 2008’s Boombox, a largely forgettable remix-fest. The Scissor Sisters, too, had some hard work to do; after their stunning 2004 eponymous debut album, they hit a low with their comparatively dreary 2006 offering, Ta-Dah. Thankfully their new album, Night Work, sees the Sisters returning to what they do best – filthy/gorgeous electronica with searingly sexy lyrics.
A deft blend of heavy 80s-inspired electro funk and a decidedly 21st Century take on sex and drugs, Night Work is filled with pleasingly dirty tracks laden with innuendo and kitsch. Take ‘Any Which Way': wailing sirens give way to a chunky bass line, 70s-style staccato string kicks and Jake Shears’ accomplished falsetto belting out pure, undisguised filth; it’s all so laden with sexual imagery that it makes Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s BBC-banned 80s anthem, ‘Relax’, seem almost puritanical. Ana Matronic comes to the fore again, too, lending her sultry vocals to the intensely funky ‘Skin This Cat’, while the bassy ‘Sex and Violence’ gives Shears a chance to put his own breathless voice to best use. Del Marquis and Babydaddy, meanwhile, are at the top of their form in ‘Running Out’, a floor-filler thrumming with relentless electro bass and insistent guitars in the Sisters’ typically frenetic and glam style. It’s like the bastard love child of Hot Space-era Queen and the Pointer Sisters.
The truth is, the Scissor Sisters didn’t need to go ‘mainstream’ with Ta-Dah. Sure, ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin” was fun enough, but for all its dance-floor friendliness it didn’t sound anything like as distinctive and exciting as 2004’s ‘Laura’ and that oh-so-glam gem, ‘Comfortably Numb’. Night Work more than redresses the balance; there’s even an epic feel-good song, ‘Fire With Fire’ to match the frankly awesome ‘Return to Oz’. If you liked Scissor Sisters and wondered what went wrong with Ta-Dah, take solace in one simple, fantastic fact: the Scissor Sisters of old are back, and they’re better than ever.