Queer Factor 

Brooklyn's Scissor Sisters get their freak on with new CD

Brooklyn's Scissor Sisters get their freak on with new CD

Springing from that moment in the sexual revolution when funk and disco were calls to liberation and freakery was nothing to be ashamed of, Scissor Sisters get down to it on their self-titled album, condensing 40-odd years of radio into a pop record that feels gloriously timeless and refreshingly gay. Not in the uninformed (high school) or gutless (most hip-hop) parlance meaning inferior, but in the classic sense of the word, meaning euphoric and homosexual. On tracks like "Mary" and "Take Your Mama Out," this five-piece Brooklyn band rely on subtlety and purloined phrases, much like Morrissey during his Polari phase, but the fact that straight radio is, at least momentarily, singing along with the coming-out narrative of "Mama" is a victory.

Too often, queer music is guilty of ghettoization, cordoning itself off with rigid boundaries that, while providing a pool of artists for GLAMA (Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards) and The Advocate to focus on, leaves no room for evolution or cross-pollination. The Sisters are tired of that and, as such, invite listeners to their party. They'll even, as on the album opener "Laura," help you get your hair together first.

Lead sister Jake Shears (Jason Sellards) keeps the vibe appropriately transgressive; his falsetto evokes Jagger circa "Emotional Rescue," with the slightest hint of strain and effort that makes it doubly naughty. From the disco strut of the dancefloor, "hoes deserve glamour too" anthem "Filthy/Gorgeous" to the funk balladry of "It Can't Come Quickly Enough," Shears sounds right at home among the big hooks and sleazy glitter that suffuse this record.

There's also their Studio 54-ish take on Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," which is simultaneously ridiculous and cagily brilliant. It's hard to imagine that an American band could take the piss out of this classic rock staple so effortlessly, yet Sisters do everything with sass. Any band who can take a song like "Take Your Mama Out" and make it rock like the theme from NewsRadio is onto something. Anyone with affection for pop music at its most glorious or any "acid junkie college funky dirty puppy daddy bastard" looking for the giddy rush of some freaky 45s should look no further than this. The party is ready; you just have to come in, or come out, as the case may be.

—Jason Shawhan

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