released June 29th, 2010
from the album - Fire With Fire
from all music
A genre- and gender-defying mix of rock, pop, and dance inspired by burlesque, drag queens, and glam rock, New York's Scissor Sisters made a splash in late 2003/early 2004 with their neon-bright reimagining of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," the B-side to the band's first single, "Electrobix." The song made quite a name for the band, which features singers Jake Shears and Ana Matronic, keyboardist/bassist Babydaddy, guitarists Del Marquis and Derek G, and drummer Paddy Boom: along with becoming the calling card that got the band signed to Polydor in the U.K., "Comfortably Numb" was heralded Single of the Month by Dazed and Confused and Jockey Slut magazines, named an Essential New Tune by Pete Tong on Britain's Radio 1, and also received considerable play by DJs including Felix da Housecat and Tiga. Scissor Sisters (whose name is slang for a lesbian sex act) came from the cutting edge of New York's nightlife and gay culture, incorporating elements of burlesque and drag shows, as well as performance art, into their theatrical live shows. This was the perfect setting for their music, which gleaned the best of Elton John, the Bee Gees, the B-52's, David Bowie, and many other artists with a campy sense of humor and impeccable style.
After proving themselves as one of the city's most dynamic live acts, Scissor Sisters won over British and European audiences on a tour early in 2004 that coincided with the release of their self-titled debut album. That March, they returned stateside for a South by Southwest gig with Junior Senior and the B-52's before returning to the U.K. to tour with Duran Duran in support of the "Take Your Mama Out" single. The band continued to have a busy spring and summer, launching its first U.S. tour in May — coinciding with the stateside release of Scissor Sisters — and returning to Europe in June and July. These dates included two gigs supporting Scissor Sisters' spiritual and musical godfather, Elton John, as well as appearances at festivals such as Glastonbury, T in the Park, Roskilde, and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Late that year, Scissor Sisters were nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance Record for "Comfortably Numb." The band kept busy with touring and producing remixes during 2005, and returned with new material in fall 2006, when the single "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" hit number one in England. The band's subsequent album, Ta-Dah, also topped the charts in Great Britain. In 2008, Paddy Boom left the group and was replaced by Randy Schrager. Scissor Sisters worked with producer Stuart Price on their third album, Night Work, which was released in 2010 and was preceded by the single "Invisible Light."
Scissor Sisters completed and then scrapped an entire album before Night Work, not only ditching arrangements and mixes but an entire set of songs. When they re-entered the studio, it was with producer Stuart Price, whose work with artists from Madonna to Kylie to Pet Shop Boys to the Killers proved his hit-making potential -- and whose music, including the excellent Darkdancer as Les Rythmes Digitales, is one of the best love letters to the '80s dance scene ever produced. Price ably provides the '80s in full force, with obvious touchstones from Duran Duran to Giorgio Moroder to Prince to Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" to Pet Shop Boys. The entire group sound enlivened by the help, transcending the piano-heavy rock of Ta-Dah! to get closer to their debut's raft of double entendres (and single entendres). Scissor Sisters are record fans from way back (they covered Roxy Music between albums), so they structure nearly every element of Night Work to relive the heady days of AOR (aka album-oriented rock). Slotted in the third track is a power ballad aching with sincerity (and synths), the cover includes a Robert Mapplethorpe photo from 1980 above a title appearing in circa-1981 cursive script, and the songs are nearly straitjacket tight examples of the classic verse-chorus-verse format. Granted, Jake Shears and Babydaddy haven't written a set of songs to compete with their debut, but they beat Ta-Dah! by a few yards and sound more energized than they have in years. The songs and lyrics are naturally full of clubland tales and dancefloor come-ons, plus nearly endless metaphors for sex ("I need express delivery," "Gotta do the night work," "Sting me like a bee," "Might sneak up from behind," "I got a brand new hook to hang your hat," "I got some apples, if you want 'em you can grab 'em"). Classic AOR would be nothing without a few moments of sincerity, and the last track, "Invisible Light," shows the most evidence of honesty as well as innovation -- for once, Scissor Sisters aren't aping power-ballad emotion or double-entendre pop. It's a driving clubland epic encompassing love (love of dance and love of love), ending with a Sir Ian McKellen voiceover in tribute to the "bacchanal."
1 Night Work Gruen, Hoffman, Price ... 3:07
2 Whole New Way Hoffman, Price, Sellards 2:54
3 Fire with Fire Hoffman, Price, Sellards 4:13
4 Any Which Way Hoffman, Lynch, Price ... 4:41
5 Harder You Get Hoffman, Price, Sellards 3:05
6 Running Out Hoffman, Sellards, White 3:08
7 Something Like This Hoffman, Sellards 3:01
8 Skin This Cat Hoffman, Lynch, Sellards 2:40
9 Skin Tight Hoffman, Price, Sellards 3:25
10 Sex and Violence Hoffman, Sellards 4:10
11 Night Life Gruen, Hoffman, Lynch, Price ... 3:37