2nd to none

Posted on 28 Sep 2006 at 6:04pm
By Gilbert Garcia – Pop Music Critic

Follow-up avoids sophomore slump, proves Scissor Sisters’ debut was no fluke



SHARPENED UP: Singer Jake Shears, front center, leads Scissor Sisters to an evolved, more innovative sound on new disc.

Scissor Sisters
“Ta-Dah”
Universal/Motown

From the moment their 2004 debut record lit up dance floors and concert stages, expectations suddenly got very high for queer New York super-group Scissor Sisters. Where a first-time release requires only a decent set of songs and a go-for-broke exuberance, sophomore albums are different beasts altogether. For a follow-up to be successful, a band must prove they’re both innovative and that they’ve evolved.

On their second release, “Ta-Dah,” unabashedly gay singer Jake Shears and crew perform admirably on both counts not only producing a solid and fun album, but sounding quite slicker in 2006.

“Ta-Dah” wastes no time getting to the good stuff, starting off with the group’s first single, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing.” Like the group’s previous hits, the track borrows liberally from ’70s-era pop of artists like Elton John, to whom the group owes a lot of credit. Indeed, it should be no surprise that Sir Elton himself provided backing keys for two tracks on the album, and he takes a co-writing credit as well.

Whereas the first album was divided equally between bouncy pop and trashy disco, “Ta-Dah” tends to be more heavily weighted toward the former, which is a good direction. From the pseudo-glam stylings of “She’s My Man,” to the slick Chic-inspired grooves on “Ooh,” the better tracks on “Ta-Dah” sound like they were lifted from late-’70s pop radio.

Other standouts include the funky Casio-fueled tribute “Paul McCartney” and the Blondie-styled anthem “Kiss You Off.”

Like its predecessor, “Ta-Dah” isn’t flawless. Despite its high points, it occasionally stumbles on longwinded tracks that are neither here nor there and ushers in a distracting lull to the fun flamboyance. In spite of these weak points, “Ta-Dah” that tells us just what we needed to know about Scissor Sisters: They’re not just a one-hit wonder, and there’s little chance they’ll be disappearing any time soon.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 29, 2006.

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