Scissor Sisters

Night Work

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Scissor Sisters completed and then scrapped an entire album before Night Work, not only ditching arrangements and mixes but an entire set of songs. When they re-entered the studio, it was with producer Stuart Price, whose work with artists from Madonna to Kylie to Pet Shop Boys to the Killers proved his hit-making potential -- and whose music, including the excellent Darkdancer as Les Rythmes Digitales, is one of the best love letters to the '80s dance scene ever produced. Price ably provides the '80s in full force, with obvious touchstones from Duran Duran to Giorgio Moroder to Prince to Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" to Pet Shop Boys. The entire group sound enlivened by the help, transcending the piano-heavy rock of Ta-Dah! to get closer to their debut's raft of double entendres (and single entendres). Scissor Sisters are record fans from way back (they covered Roxy Music between albums), so they structure nearly every element of Night Work to relive the heady days of AOR (aka album-oriented rock). Slotted in the third track is a power ballad aching with sincerity (and synths), the cover includes a Robert Mapplethorpe photo from 1980 above a title appearing in circa-1981 cursive script, and the songs are nearly straitjacket tight examples of the classic verse-chorus-verse format. Granted, Jake Shears and Babydaddy haven't written a set of songs to compete with their debut, but they beat Ta-Dah! by a few yards and sound more energized than they have in years. The songs and lyrics are naturally full of clubland tales and dancefloor come-ons, plus nearly endless metaphors for sex ("I need express delivery," "Gotta do the night work," "Sting me like a bee," "Might sneak up from behind," "I got a brand new hook to hang your hat," "I got some apples, if you want 'em you can grab 'em"). Classic AOR would be nothing without a few moments of sincerity, and the last track, "Invisible Light," shows the most evidence of honesty as well as innovation -- for once, Scissor Sisters aren't aping power-ballad emotion or double-entendre pop. It's a driving clubland epic encompassing love (love of dance and love of love), ending with a Sir Ian McKellen voiceover in tribute to the "bacchanal."

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