Review: Scissor Sisters – Magic Hour
Published on May 30th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
The flamboyantly playful/playfully flamboyant New Yorkers return with a fourth album that’s neither as bad as you might fear nor as good as they could be if they reined in some of the instincts that admittedly contribute towards their lingering popularity.
Magic Hour all too frequently stumbles on its own inability to resist jarring electro novelty – “Shady Love” and closer “F*** Yeah” are the main offenders here, although the latter flaunts a pretty cool, rubbery synth bassline – while “Only the Horses” registers simply as dull Euro-pop, conceivably a pastiche but shorn of the ‘ironic’ winks that would usually tip the listener off in such instances.
However, there are several noteworthy successes – the jaunty piano and gurgling synth of “Baby Come Home” endears, as do the uber-smoothe “Inevitable” and the catwalk quirkiness of “Let’s Have a Kiki”, while “Keep Your Shoes” sounds funkily/sinisterly like pre-Mobile Disco Simian working with a ‘hot’ modern producer. Somehow Scissor Sisters make this a good thing, and for that they are to be commended.
The real highlights though are the liltingly exotic “San Luis Obispo” and the rueful, string-swept “The Secret Life of Letters”, both of which evidence the kind of songwriting flair that this band would do well – at least from an artistic viewpoint – to prize over their ability to fashion smirky dancefloor trash. Given that Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Diplo, Alex Rihda [BoysNoize] and Azealia Banks all feature on the album, the problem is perhaps easily identified.
Like the zebras on its cover, Magic Hour is a striped beast – just be sure to pick out the best bits and leave the rest of the carcass to rot.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
Magic Hour is out now on Polydor. For more information, including a list of live dates, please visit scissorsisters.com