US - New York - Full Moon 106 - 05/23/05
Filthy and Gorgeous
Use this video as an intro. Cover the eyes of any little children before you put it on.
Saw this band for the first time on Conan O'Brien. At first glance these people seemed shallow, stylish, uncomfortable, and insecure. At first listen they sounded like Elton John. But then you heard "Take Your Mama" and knew that this band has something special deep down just ready to explode. Last year they were a one-hit-wonder, and within 12 months they've got 15 new tracks. That's not much time to think. Will they capitolize on the awesomeness of "Take Your Mama", will they find some new direction that is equally intoxicating, or will they instead show themselves as disposable?
It opens with a :43 intro. A gospel organ, then, with wry use of delays and cuts, a deep voice says: "Thirty Five Million Years ago, a group of scientists traveled to a far and distant land in which they found a mysterious cave that resembled a large vagina. Inside they discovered a new form of life. A life that would take them on a journey, a journey that would lead them beneath the valley of the Scissor Sisters! Ha ha ha". Compelling and funny.
"Electrobix" is the opener. "Are you a Scissor Sister? Scissor Sister can you work it on out?" "Electrobix, your moves make me sick. Your legs they look like sticks, Electrobix yeah". The megaman melodies are really good in this. The sound of the band is warm and
starkly classic 80s electronic. Can't fault such a good sound, no matter how semi-faddish it is at the moment. "Electrobix your moves make make me sick. Electrobix yeah." Perhaps the lyrics leave a bit to be desired, but poetry is hardly the focus of this music. The neatest
thing about the song is its own intros and outros, which both continue the quite funny and elegant self-name dropping.
A minimal U2-esque guitar begins "Comfortably Numb", but it doesn't take long for this intro to subside to a band-sound that is genuine disco. A sound that is maligned but one that I love in its true form. The Scissor Sisters manage to pull off with total genuine flare and integrity exactly what the likes of LCD Soundsystem et al. try (with equally mixed results): to resurrect an old style that everybody in their right mind thinks is Over. "Comfortably Numb" is a fucking hell of a song. Unfortunately, this amazing ability of resurrection can't last the whole album. Read on:
Something doesn't seem quite as right about "Someone to Touch (How Many Times)". I feel like Jake Shear's voice here, through just-right inflection, is able to be stylish in the way he intends without falling to unoriginality. His voice has a signature, a character all its own, and it shines in this song. But
the song itself feels off-kilter in an almost nauseating way. "Music is the Victim" also doesn't seem to fit. One thing I was hoping was that this band would be able to stay somewhat focused this time. This song loses the album, it seems to me. The campy male-female dialogue isn't so bad here, but this song is one of those that as soon as it comes on everyone dancing would leave for a breather. "Backwoods PT. 2" pulls them back with an awesome intro-loop. The saxes are good, the lyrics continue to be filty, but you know, I just don't feel good about these three tunes. Parts of them are funny, but then parts of them seem really kind of retarded.
"Step Aside for the Man" begins the mid-section. The bassline and cow-bell are great here. I see they've returned to the sound that I liked (or: became focused again). But after those 3 it seems just that much more forced, and that much more faux. Oh well, next is the title track, which Should be a great tune that transcends. And Signatures return! Yes. "You're filthy, and disgusting". Now that's a thing to say in a chorus ain't it! It's funny the range of quality I feel from this album. Yeah, "Filthy and Gorgeous" is a great Scissor Sisters song. And would you believe it, it's really the last one on the album. "Monkey baby why you lookin' at me. Monkey baby why don't you climb that tree". I don't think so.
I would say Scissor Sisters are on the perfect track as far as the over-arching statements they're making, but they unfortunately miss the mark more than they hit it on this sophomore LP. Check this: if you take the 4 best tunes from their self-titled album and combine them with the 4 best from this one, you have a great album. Instead we now have 2 over-all very mediocre Scissor Sisters albums.
Copyright © 2005 Bill Banks