Monday, September 13, 2004

Hannah Reviews...'Scissor Sisters'

I get glares and looks that vaguely resemble 'what the hell?' if I ever play/mention/admit I like the Scissor Sisters. I can see why many people think I'm insane - Hannah, the girl who seems to take music almost as seriously as she takes breathing, likes a band who many would simply refer to as 'a joke'. I know what they're saying, and considering my first encounter with the Scissor Sisters was sometime in 2003, watching the original encarnation of the 'Laura' video, and being totally bewildered by it, they do have a point. The Scissor Sisters are possibly one of the most camp acts out there at the minute, but they make great, and even sometimes serious, disco-pop music. You just need to broaden your tastes, and take a giant leap into the musical unknown...

The Scissor Sisters are (not their real names, please note) :
Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Babydaddy, Del Marquis and Paddy Boom. This is probably one reason why it IS hard to take them seriously. Please bear with me.

Their self-titled debut opens with the aforementioned belter 'Laura', a bizarre tale, with an incredibly busy backing track and, wait for it...a sax solo! You can see where my heart was won over. Crazy disco and electric moments, with added falsetto, are to be found with fellow single releases 'Take Your Mama' and 'Comfortably Numb', their career-maker. All 3 were 'growers' on my part, but are equally strong singles. Chances are, if you weren't convinced first time around, have another listen.

An unexpected moment of tenderness can be found on 'Mary' - clearly my favourite song on the album. Why? It was written about Jake's childhood best friend, a girl had trouble with her weight, and shows a completely different side to the Sisters. It wouldn't be really out of place on 'Hopes and Fears' and is a gentle piano-based ballad, with a hint of jazz.

In contrast, the quite wonderful 'Music Is The Victim' is a 3-minute dash of jive and is perfect to dance to, with a great guitar solo, thumping bassline and boogie-piano. There are some shaky moments - I can't seem to find any appeal in 'Filthy/Gorgeous' or 'Tits on the Radio' which are both probably a little too far from what I'm 'used to'. These redeem themselves, however, with the sheer quality of the rest of the album, including a slightly more acoustic outing with 'Return to Oz'

And, UK listeners, you are also privileged enough to receive two bonus tracks AND a message from Ms Matronic. How bonza! In fact, I defy you not to even like them a LITTLE bit after that generosity. The Scissor Sisters have truly opened my mind. Give them a go, and I swear you won't be disappointed.

****
4/5