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Scissor Sisters - self-titled (UMC/Polydor): LP reissue

25 May 2019

Scream “surprise” and wait for Scissor Sisters’ debut album to blow out 15 candles on the birthday cake. The present is for you, though, because band’s debut album is celebrated by a high-quality LP pressing with a new half-speed master made at the venerable Abbey Road Studios. Songs like “Take Your Mama” shimmer with all the sweaty dance-funk and decadent glam you remember, only with superior sonic fidelity. The pulsing piano pop of “Laura” is another of the album’s song that revealed multi-instrumentalist Babydaddy’s love for classic Elton John radio hits. Jake Shears’ supple falsetto and vocal blend with co-singer Ana Matronic suggest further tutelage by disco-era pop including the Bee Gees and ABBA. The band’s electro-pop take on “Comfortably Numb” hews closer to Duran Duran, “Stayin’ Alive,” Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” and sleek Chic than the source material by Pink Floyd. The group’s material isn’t pure party fare, however, with many songs focused on real-world concerns among the LGBTQ community. “Return to Oz” addresses drug abuse within the gay community while providing a showcase for guitarist Del Marquis. “What once was Emerald City’s now a crystal town,” sings Shears plaintively. The irrepressible “Take Your Mama” lingers on the struggle involved with coming out to family. Ms. Matronic leads the provocative Prince-styled protest-funk of “Tits on the Radio.” On the brighter side, Shears expresses heartfelt devotion to a beloved friend during the tender “Mary.” The grinding guitar and throbbing kick drum of hedonistic dance-floor hit “Filthy/Gorgeous” recall the ‘80s chart success of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, while the pop-savvy and percussive “Music is the Victim” sounds like a fusion of uptempo Elton John and the B-52s. Scissor Sisters was the best-selling album of 2004 and a multi-million selling smash in the UK, but failed to reach gold-record status in the band’s native USA. This reissue provides fresh opportunity for reevaluation.