The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Record review

Reviewed by Courtney Fitzgerald, August 20, 2004, Music

Scissor Sisters


These bitches know how to rock. Beginning with the ELO "Mr. Blue Sky"-era walking piano of opener "Laura" and the rolling bass of "Tits on the Radio," Scissor Sisters reeks of nostalgia and cool, descriptors that could easily spell unaccomplished retro fad. But musicianship hasn't escaped this NYC sextet. The music's so tight and clean, hipsters can't own it alone in obscurity; they'll have to put up with it being played at Target and frat parties because there's a universality in danceable rock that cannot be denied. Writing a song everyone can karaoke to isn't as easy as Elton John made it sound, and these guys have done it by putting all the Elton-esque choruses, verses, bridges, hooks, and falsetto in all the right places. The award for most-karaokable-when-drunk-and-lonely goes to the album's ballad, "Mary." More importantly, the Sisters change the old structural elements around and occasionally Bee Gees-ify them in a way that's not ephemerally ironic like a Care Bears T-shirt (their rendition of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" is basically unrecognizable). This debut's fantastic energy does peter out toward the end, and some may consider it unfortunate that the bawdy, simplistic lyrics aren't the kind of life-changing poetry you'll want someone singing at your wedding. But let's not forget Bernie Taupin got away with crocodile-rock cheese to the tune of millions. When lines like "'cause you can't see tits on the radio" make it into a chorus, you should be aware that you're being seriously entertained.


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