Record Review - 1 September 09 2004

Yes, Scissor Sisters' singer Jake Shears does sound a lot like mid-'70s Elton John. But on its debut album, the flamboyant band says goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road and hello to the hedonistic decadence of the disco era.

Shears, the fantastic captain of the randy Sisters, knows a thing or two about wrapping his lips around a sleazy melody, and the rest of the band surely knows how to make it throb. In fact, nearly every song on the insistent, propulsive album serves two masters: the body and the mind. Sure, you can groove to it, but if you really listen, you'll swallow a load of information and clever social commentary. Want the Sisters to weigh in on the meth problem? Check "Music Is the Victim," Want remorse? "Return To Oz." Want to just dance and forget your problems? "Tits on the Radio" features saucy Ana Matronic, who also takes the standout disco thumper "Filthy Gorgeous" to a breathy climax.

Overall, the collection is an enjoyable, fruit-loopy mix of bicentennial-era schmaltz-rock and pounding club tracks. The Scissor Sisters even have the cheeky audacity to shake up a wheezy old "classic" like Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and give it a well-deserved kick in The Wall.

— Lee Valentine Smith

Scissor Sisters play Sun., Sept. 12, at the 99X Upstart Festival Part 2, at Masquerade Music Park. 2 p.m. $15-$17. See www.99x.com for more info.