While most buzz out of recent New York bands (The Strokes) has
come from those looking back to ’70s rock acts such as the
Velvet Underground, one band has drawn from the happier and more
pop remnants of the disco era. The Scissor Sisters — best
described as a blend between the piano pop of Elton John, the disco
beats of the Bee Gees and the flamboyance of the Village People
— have arrived with their debut release, giving a kick to the
virtually staid music scene.
The Sisters, named after a lesbian sex act, features members
dressed in glamorous rock outfits and otherwise overtly flamboyant
attire. Their background led them through the gay clubs and
burlesque shows of New York before hitting it big with the U.K.
club hit “Comfortably Numb.” The unrecognizable,
sped-up Pink Floyd cover with its “Eye of the Tiger”
riff, vaulted their self-titled album to the top of the charts and
deservedly so. Their debut CD departs significantly from the
disco-filled demo many had heard, leading to many disappointed
fans. Don’t be too upset though, the self-titled release
features more tight piano pop and what are bound to become drunk
hipsters’ favorite karaoke songs.
Given their over-the-top character names (Babydaddy, Paddy Boom)
and outfits, the group is at great risk at being viewed as a
novelty act. However, these gay-pop icons manage to avoid falling
into the trap of becoming the cliché one-hit-wonder with
their tightly crafted music, whether it is a ballad ruminating on
crystal meth’s drastic effect on the gay community or a
piano/rock song celebrating voyeurism. Smart, tongue-in-cheek
lyrics such as “You can’t see tits on the radio,
I’ll give you five fingers for a one man show” are used
in a song lamenting Rudy Giuliani’s crackdown on the sleazy
aspects of New York and further reveal that the Sisters
aren’t all show.
A standout on the release is their first U.S. single,
“Take Your Mama Out.” Evoking the sound of Elton John,
possibly the only mainstream artist more flamboyant than they, the
Sisters craft a track showing pop/rock at it’s best, becoming
a party anthem about getting trashed with your mother at a gay club
and showing her your new lifestyle isn’t so bad.
Throughout the album, the group synthesizes all inspirations
rather than completely emulating musical styles, thus creating
songs with some sort of dance beat where one would not be expected.
The Scissor Sisters don’t seem to care if they’re
rehashing a bygone era because they know that you’ll be
addicted to their disco-tinged music.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.