The new Scissor Sisters release hit stores this week. It's called Ta-Dah; the absence of any punctuation, such as an exclamation point, is a very conscious decision, according to frontman Jake Shears. I appreciate this attitude from the start: the Scissor Sisters do not care whether you decide to bash the album or not. This is merely their idea of a good time, and they hope you enjoy it too. So far, I do enjoy it very much.
With some albums, playing spot-the-influence is more depressing than interesting, largely because it only underscores how some acts are so devoid of ideas, they have to consciously cannibalize the past (though I suppose every act does this at one point or another). Ta-Dah is a different story, though, if only because its source material is so unlikely. Have you been hankering for the best Bee Gees disco album since 1977? Do you wish Pink Floyd had stuck to watery, Meddle-era prog? Do the lyrical sentiments of the Magnetic Fields' "It's Only Time," with its passionate plea for acceptance of same-sex marriage, ring true? It's all here, folks. "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" and "Lights" are pastiches of "Jive Talkin'" and "Stayin' Alive", respectively, yet each seems completely developed in its own right. "Kiss You Off", which, sadly, is Ana Matronic's only number, has a bass part straight out of "One of These Days". The climactic "Everybody Wants the Same Thing" is impassioned and anthemic -- it reminds us that no matter our gender or orientation, love is the greatest thing. It's rare to find an album with influences like this; to me, it's a refreshing change of pace and I'll probably be spinning Ta-Dah until kingdom come. Sure, consistency has never been the band's forte, and sometimes the influences are a bit too pronounced ("Ooh" might as well be called "Around the World Pt. II") but this is a fun album that I very much enjoy. The band may be blase about getting people to like them, but they didn't have any problems swaying me over. Ta-Dah is a worthy follow-up to their brilliant debut.