Polydor - 2004 - 43 minutes
The genre-bending cover version is one of music's great new clichés. From Travis's crowd-pleasing 'Hit Me Baby One More Time', to pianist Brad Mehldau's melancholic and virtuoso Radiohead covers, songs being filtered through a different musical sensibility are losing their ability to surprise.
Scissor Sisters' calling card is a conceptual nightmare - a Hi-NRG take on Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' sung in the highest falsetto since the Bee Gees. Though it doesn't have the viral clout that daft cover versions had a few years back, it works as both sublime silliness and compelling dancefloor pop.
On the basis of this modish collision of raincoat rock and glitterball disco, it was easy to imagine that Scissor Sisters' album would be a collection of painfully hip 80s glumness given an injection of camp house rhythms to give it a bit of zing.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Scissor Sisters ranges from the Stonesy piano blues of 'Take Your Mama Out' to a creditable Sly Stone impersonation on 'Laura'. This is the full gamut of the camp 1970s, from sleazy disco to overblown Elton John ballads. The band revel in Electric Six style pseudonyms like Ana Matrinoic, Del Marquis etc and let's face it, no-one can call a song 'Tits On The Radio' with a straight face.
But the musicianship, songwriting and full-on production on Scissor Sisters steamrollers the comedy posturing. It should be hideous, but it isn't. I hate myself for liking it. But I like it.
Tracklisting: Laura - Take Your Mama Out - Comfortably Numb - Mary - Lovers In The Backseat - Tits On The Radio - Filthy/Gorgeous - Music Is The Victim - Better Luck Next Time - It Can't Come Quickly Enough - Return To Oz