Scissor Sisters’ ‘Magic Hour’

2 Jun

Their self-titled début album of 2004 lit up the UK charts as Scissor Sisters made themselves heard, using all the colours of the rainbow. The group have been praised for their unique style of thoughtful lyrics and colourful sounds; one argued to have resurrected the theatrical-pop common in the 70s and 80s. The album, ‘Scissor Sisters‘, was an impressive success in the UK as it went platinum seven times. However, their follow-up went by almost unnoticed, with the third album, ‘Night Work‘, peaking at number two. This year they returned with a forth collection in an attempt to achieve the same success that came with their début.

Through ‘Magic Hour‘, there is a sense of rebirth as the group appears to be experimenting and adapting to modern demands with there being signs of their trade-mark flamboyant retro-funk being tamed. The album goes back and forth between numerous genres without any real order; its set-up is relatively messy. However, the lack of organisation does not prevent the fun side from showing off. It is still able to be an enjoyable album that embodies the same eccentric and glamorous personality as the début, but with a modern twist. The retro-funk is not entirely lost as the vocals and overall vibe possess a distinct 70’s disco sound that bounces off the modern dance rhythms; ‘Baby Come Home‘ and ‘Shady Love‘ (co-written by Azealia Banks) are an example of this contrasting of sounds as the first is a playful jazz set-up with the latter being a more upbeat hip-hop inspired piece. The Calvin Harris produced ‘Only The Horses‘ was the first single to be released and is possibly the only radio-friendly song. It is a powerful and vibrant dance anthem, built up by a string of piano melodies and scattered synths, arguably the only pop-loyal track amongst the hybrids. The single embodies the full character that comes with Scissor Sisters; it is lively, upbeat, colourful and fun. This character, however, is enlarged in ‘Let’s Have a Kiki‘ which is a unique sound that acts as an anthem to the gay community that the group represents; it is a fun experimentation that, although very minimal, finds a way to make you like it. The album runs with quite a fast pace due to the fierce attitude it has adopted within the songs mentioned, but it is stalled by one or two tracks that bring down the beat with an attempt at being deep and poetic; ‘The Secret Life Of Letters‘ being an example. There is a lack of flow in the album, which is something that probably brings it down; the track ordering is a strange of off-putting one. There is a great potential in the album because it is generally fun, but the ordering makes it an uncomfortable roller-coaster ride.

It is not as wonderful as their début, but ‘Magic Hour‘ is still a colourful album that is on a mission to liven-up any playlist with vibrant sounds, meaningful lyrics and a strikingly fierce attitude.

 

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