Album Review: Scissor Sisters - Magic Hour

15 May 2012 | 1:36 pm | Fiona Dunne

Magic Hour remains steeped with their iconic riffs and dancefloor anthems, but they’ve successfully moved directions...

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For long-time fans of Scissor Sisters' debauchery, their fourth studio album Magic Hour may be a surprise. Collaborating with a range of producers and performers - including Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Alex Rihda and Azealia Banks - has pushed the band towards the type of heavy electro arrangements that currently drench the Top 40 charts.

Only The Horses falls hardest towards this direction due to Harris' hand in producing, making it a solid, floor-filling club track. Thankfully, Shears' vocals manage to keep the sound buoyant and away from becoming the boring, auto-tuned filler it was in danger of becoming. Keep Your Shoes On follows the same path and drawn on throbbing, militaristic beats and early '90s R'n'B to present a cheeky dance track, while Shady Love, featuring Azealia Banks, is heavily centred around hip hop stylistics and fused with  industrial electro. While it delivers a punchy track and is full of attitude, Shears' vocals seem quite forced, particularly in rap verses. Fortunately he's perfect during choruses, vocals soaring to become a peak of the song. In contrast, Baby Come Home is the band's signature sound, featuring retro-inspired rhythms and expansive multi-layered chorus arrangements that bring out the bands' chemistry. Inevitable and San Luis Obispo follow suit to combine '70s pop inspirations with simple, catchy guitar riffs that texturise the album. Matronic's Let's Have A Kiki combines some interesting afro-drums and voicemail vocals, before switching up again and slowing down for The Secret Life Of Letters and the sweet, mid-tempo Best In Me.

Overall, Magic Hour remains steeped with their iconic riffs and dancefloor anthems, but they've successfully moved directions, using seemingly incongruous influences that meld together to create a euphoric dance album that keeps true to their hedonistic, playful sound.