Plumbiferous Media

Night Work – Scissor Sisters

Jul 11th 2010
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Night Work - Scissor SistersScissor Sisters
Night Work
Score: 75

Scissor Sisters, glam rock band from (surprisingly) New York City, just released its third album late last month. Night Work certainly benefits from the four years Scissor Sisters has had to work on it; however, it’s less than incredible. The album alternates between being truly unique and all but run-of-the-mill pop, and, needless to say, it clearly suffers in that second category.

At its best, Night Work is pop with a twist, albeit a very interesting, significant one. While the opening track has that typical loud, overly catchy percussive line, the numerous, not quite entirely contrasting sections keep the track quite interesting, and the chords created in the vocals are nothing short of excellent, fully making up for the absolute lack of an actual melody. The subsequent track focuses on its extremely twangy vocals that somehow manage to sound perfectly sung among the sounds approaching that of slap-guitar. And that’s not even mentioning the subtle but engrossing mixed rhythms between the vocals and instrumentals.

But somewhere between “Whole New Way” and “Fire with Fire,” all creativity suddenly and inexplicably dies in its entirety. “Fire with Fire” is one of the most absolutely generic, typical pop tracks we have ever heard, and it is by no means worthy of being on Night Work. That said, “Fire with Fire” is the worst of the bunch. There are a number of other tracks that are nowhere near as good as they really should be, but for the most part, Night Work is still quite catchy and equally entertaining.

Frontman Jake Shears’ voice fills much of the vocal space of Night Work, though bandmate and fellow vocalist Ana Matronic’s vocal contributions to the album help to give the album additional color both in joining Shears and on her own tracks (such as “Skin this Cat”) – as if anything by Scissor Sisters was lacking in vibrance. Shears cries out each line with the fabulously theatrical sense of character that gives Night Work its intense enthusiasm. Matronic introduces her own sort of enthusiasm – just as strong as Shears’, but with a unique, purring tone.

Scissor Sisters’ lyrics are as provocative as ever, whether it’s openly – “Sex and Violence” couldn’t be any more so – or (slightly) more subtle, as with “Whole New Way.” Regardless of what the they’re singing about, whimsical or serious, Shears and Matronic always manage an impressive level of excitement, helping to give the music its electric tone. And only a band like Scissor Sisters, with exactly that excitement and that openness, could pull off hooks like “What I really wanna do tonight is toughen you up / The harder you get / The harder I sweat” without seeming ridiculous.

Night Work is at the same time a continuation of the style Scissor Sisters has developed in their last two albums and a development of that style, combining the sounds of the band’s self-titled debut and 2006’s Ta-Dah. As such, Night Work benefits from a somewhat more refined style than either of those albums – though it seems lacking in the some of the creativity of those albums, especially the excellent Scissor Sisters. Nevertheless, Night Work is energetic, vibrant, and certainly enjoyable.

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