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Scissor Sisters - 'Ta-Dah'
(Thursday September 21, 2006 6:09 PM )

Released on 18/09/06
Label: Polydor

In 2004, NYC glitter ball funsters Scissor Sisters were, without question, Britain's most reliable source of pop hits. Their self-titled debut album not only introduced the world to their spangled '70s campness - an unmissable car crash of kitsch, part Elton, part Bowie, part Leo Sayer - it perked up a poor year for instant fun. Via "Take Your Mama Out" & co, it slapped the charts into submission, crowned Scissor Sisters as pop royalty and provided not one, but five of the year's stand-out hits. It's a lot to live up to, so the question has to be, can the knowingly titled "Ta-Dah" really do it all again?

The short answer is sort of. The longer answer revolves around the fact that there's more to the cocky quintet than most had previously given them credit for. While there's no arguing that their first album mastered the noble art of the quick hit, it did so with a smart mix of playground hooks and familiarity. Simple melodies in the style of their heroes, looped again and again and again and again. For their follow-up they've flexed their creative muscles just a little bit more. There's more depth of feeling. It's not just black and day-glo, there's colour and shade and sophistication. "Ta-Dah" is "Scissor Sisters" complicated evil twin; less obviously addictive, but far harder to shake once it's taken hold.

In essence, it's less about trying to score hit singles and more about trying to deliver a classic album. Having already seduced one and all, they now want to draw us deeper into their world, and it's a dark, seedy, trashy place. A confusing array of weirdness. An NYC disco-junk shop, full of old Bee Gees struts ("Lights"), manic Charleston quicksteps ("Intermission"), harmonised melancholy ("Land Of A Thousand Words"), monotonal electro-glam ("Kiss You Off"), songs about Paul McCartney (er, "Paul McCartney"), and banjos. Lots of banjos.

And while at first it feels like an unholy, unhummable mess, the same solid gold charm which powered lead single "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" to Number One, lurks at the heart of every track, and by listen five it's refocused "Ta-Dah" into a strangely enticing nether world, where it's forever 1974 and a cheap thrill or soaring pop high lurks round every corner. Of course, whether "Ta-Dah" will ever be held up as the classic album the Sisters are aiming for, truly, only time can tell. But surely with the bell-bottom swinging rock'n'roll of "She's My Man" - Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It" MKII - and "I Can't Decide" - a high kicking banjo hoe-down, about murder - it's in with a damn good chance.

    by Dan Gennoe

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