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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