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Bagging a top 20 US album and No. 2 record in the UK would be considered an achievement for many, but not Scissor Sisters. After selling four million of their first two albums in the UK alone, 2010’s ‘Night Work’ curiously failed to find the same favour. Perhaps blame Lady Gaga for that: she took the Sisters’ camp, New York fashionista styling and won fans by multiplying it by ten. ‘Magic Hour’, then, has a lot riding on it. Co-produced by Calvin Harris alongside Scissor Sisters and Alex Ridha of Boys Noize (who oversees much of ‘Magic Hour’), they throw the kitchen sink at it: big air pianos, 80s AOR synths and pile-driving rhythms.
It’s brash and cocky, but when have Jake Shears, Ana Matronic and co been shrinking violets? Elsewhere there’s plenty of the hook-laden pop they’ve built their rep on – ‘Baby Come Home’ channels mid-70s Elton John and funk-lite – but there are a few more trips into pure club-land than before. ‘Let’s Have A Kiki’, with Ana’s divaesque vocals and tribal rhythm, turns the clock back to Sound Factory-era NYC, while ‘Self Control’ works Nightcrawler-ish bass keys on top of 808 beats. Diplo and Azealia Banks also join in the fun, but Pharrell Williams’ star turn is the most telling, co- writing and producing ‘Inevitable’. Smoky, slow- paced, disco soul with Bee Gees-style falsetto harmonising, it’s the type of grown-up pop Scissor Sisters can pull off like few others.
File under Sisters look to star names to spice up their adult pop
Download ‘Only The Horses’, ‘Let’s Have A Kiki’, ‘Inevitable’
Like this? Try Calvin Harris ‘Ready For The Weekend’ (Columbia)