Scissor Sisters: Night Work

Scissor Sisters: Night Work

New York dance-pop act Scissor Sisters broke wide in the early ’00s with a re-imagining of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” in the style of the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive,” but even that sublime act of pastiche has nothing on the title track for the band’s third album, Night Work, where Jake Shears and Ana Matronic trot out those Bee Gees harmonies again over Moroder-style synth runs and glam guitars, delivering a stirring anthem about how for some disaffected folks, nightclubbing time is business time. Clever mash-ups can only take a band so far, though, and unlike the first two Scissor Sisters albums, Night Work too often prizes homage over heart. The breathy innuendo and Blondie/Berlin swipes of “Any Which Way” and the Bowie-esque art-funk of “Harder You Get” have surface appeal, but at a certain point, all the “hot,” “wet” and “hard” double-entendres start to sound a little desperate. And when the angle is off—as on the rippling power ballad “Fire With Fire”—Scissor Sisters don’t so much recontextualize Elton John and Celine Dion as rip off their worst excesses. Still, Scissor Sisters are an awfully clever lot, and when they get a good head of steam up on “Running Out” (which yokes together Vangelis, Dead Or Alive, and The Cars) and “Nightlife” (which works in shades of Prince and Human League), their big-picture perspective on the liberating power of the synthetic justifies all the mad-scientist stitch-ups that died on the operating table.

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