The Designer’s Drugs: Scissor Sisters – Night Work

Night Work

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Scissor Sisters – Night Work

Anno: 2010

The impression I’ve taken from the Scissor Sisters’ new album is that the band is cashing in some of its Bee Gees disco sleaze for the more neon-colored perversions of the 80s. The band’s old wails show up in the lounging “Whole New Way” and the absurdly seedy “Any Which Way,” but most of Night Work is newer old school.

The title track opens the disc with “Funky Town” via “Physical,” “Running Out” pops up in the middle of the album waving a hint of Oingo Boingo, and “Invisible Light” caps everything off by mixing Scissor Sisters disco with Frankie Goes to Hollywood meets Animotion’s “Obsession.” Continuing the retro scheme, “Nightlife” is a quick and satisfying blast of New Wave, while Jake Shears breaks out a neat little Iggy Pop vamp in “Harder You Get” and Ana Matronic takes on her sole lead vocal alongside creeping beatboxing synths in “Skin this Cat.” An unexpected winner is the slow build of “Fire with Fire,” which begins as a lameass piano/guitar ballad that burst halfway through into dance and violins, sounding as though it might have belonged in an inspirational coming-of-age film.

Perhaps because the Sisters’ choices of style and influence are so scattered on this album, Night Work’s imitations rarely feel like cheap or stale retrospectives. No matter how derivative the songs may be, the Scissor Sisters know how to make them work.

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