August 09, 2004 12:00 PM

Scissor Sisters

With funky beats to match their funky clothes, the Scissor Sisters may be the grooviest dance-pop outfit to come out of the downtown New York scene since Deee-Lite in the early ’90s. On their self-titled debut, the five Sisters (none of whom are related and only one of whom is female) cut and paste ’70s disco, glam-rock and Eltonesque pop into a kitschy-cool sound. They even make the 1979 Pink Floyd prog-rocker “Comfortably Numb” all their own, with new-wavish keyboards, a pulsating drum-machine beat and lead singer Jake Shears’s Bee Gees-style falsetto. Meanwhile, the fab first single, “Take Your Mama,” with its honky-tonk piano and swaggering groove, is one of several songs that owe a debt to the Rocket Man (for whom the Sisters have opened on tour).

Elsewhere, the group displays a trashy wit on tracks such as the throb bing techno “Filthy/Gorgeous.” How ever, the Scissor Sisters close the disc on a sobering note with the art-rock ballad “Return to Oz,” which poignantly addresses crystal meth addiction in New York’s gay community: “What’ once was Emerald City’s/ Now a crystal town.”

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