Sis­ters doin’ it for them­selves

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

FLAM­BOY­ANT New York dance- pop band Scis­sor Sis­ters man­age to sound up­lift­ing even when they are moody.

Their fourth al­bum is packed full of summer- time fun, a mostly ef­fort­less blend of disco jams and pop bal­lads.

On the surface it looks like they were aim­ing squarely at the dance floor, with Ger­man techno DJ ( and emerg­ing pop and rock pro­ducer) Boys Noize tweak­ing the stu­dio knobs for three quar­ters of the record.

But in­ter­est­ingly, Magic Hour of­ten leans to­wards bal­lads in­stead of dance­floor num­bers.

It also ap­pears the Sis­ters were hop­ing for a re­turn to chart success, col­lab­o­rat­ing with a slew of hit- mak­ers in­clud­ing John Leg­end, Phar­rell Williams, Calvin Har­ris, Diplo and Stu­art Price, plus ris­ing rap star Azealia Banks.

It says a lot about the strength and song­writ­ing skill of the Sis­ters that de­spite hir­ing all of th­ese big names, Magic Hour’s ma­te­rial sounds 99 per cent like them with only tiny flour­ishes of the out­side par­ties.

In­evitable, with Williams, is a per­fect ex­am­ple. It is in­fec­tious, laid­back and groovy, with a per­fect dose of sleaze.

Only the Horses is ready for UK chart success, with a cheesy blend of pop­trance melodies and com­mer­cial house rhythms that is just so ‘‘ now’’.

Baby Come Home is sim­i­larly chart smart with its joy­ous pi­anos and soul­ful disco. It’s a not too dis­tant cousin of the act’s past hits like Take Your Mama or Don’t Feel Like Dancin’.

Year of Liv­ing Dan­ger­ously slows the pace from a trot back to a swag­ger. A well- ex­e­cuted song about search­ing for your place in the world, it burns slowly but brightly.

The record should end with the stun­ning high­light Se­cret Life of Let­ters. It’s full of melo­drama and so­phis­ti­ca­tion, art­fully rolled into a song about writer’s block or bad re­la­tion­ships.

Un­for­tu­nately duds Some­where and F - - - Yeah pour wa­ter on what could have been a strong fin­ish.

Back to the good stuff, there are two songs that stand out be­cause they’re so dif­fer­ent to the rest. They play back- toback mid- al­bum.

Let’s Have a Kiki is an un­hinged and dirty ’ 90s tribal house- style track. Not much in the way of melody, it is just a few synth stabs over lots of drums and at­ti­tude- filled spo­ken vo­cals. Any­one else need to con­sult ur­ban­dic­tionary. com to find out what a ‘‘ kiki’’ is?

Then there is Shady Love, a tune the band may have in­cluded for no other rea­son than to sur­prise fans. Fea­tur­ing a guest spot by Ms Banks, the song’s style seems very much in­spired by her elec­tro­rap hit 212 but fil­tered through the Sis­ters’ lens.

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