Depending on which side of the Atlantic you live, Scissor Sisters should be familiar to even your great grandmamma for either their cheeky, trash-house cover of Pink Floyd’s sacred “Comfortably Numb” or the Queer Eye spots that feature their cheeky, thrash-house anthem “Filthy/Gorgeous” (the very model of the “fuck you, okay now fuck me” queer anthem). The Sisters’ self-titled debut album is a fantastic, breezy listen and it’s got charm to spare (“Tits On the Radio,” for example, is a wickedly funny ditty). Still, as fun and freaky as Scissor Sisters are, I’d still wager that Supergrass straddles the line between George Michael and David Cassidy most successfully, and the “Moving” trio’s gay vague appeal (which, to be fair, may very well exist solely in their willingness to take a cue from extraordinarily campy musical styles) is far less overt. Hell, Franz Ferdinand’s “Michael” is clearly a lot more “transgressive” than anything on this album. In fact, there’s a real grain of truth to what Rob Sheffield wrote in his Village Voice article about that very song: “It’s usually hard for straight bands to identify gay without getting self-conscious or even self-congratulatory, acting gayer than thou.” Regardless of which members of Scissor Sisters are or are not gay, to substitute the word “bands” with “listeners” is to become acutely aware of the limitations of the Sisters’ gimmick. (Like it or not, “fun” is not sexuality-specific.) But, of course, that’s not their fault anymore than it is Tim Curry’s that more straight people seem interested in donning his garters than do gays. Still, from “It Can’t Come Quickly Enough,” a walking wounded epic in the Pet Shop Boys idiom, to the tender “Mary” (as though perched atop a faded black, 10-foot thrust stage with burnt-out proscenium arc bulbs, the surprisingly earnest ballad is a blue-light torch song, drenched with sheets of evening skyline electric piano), not everything on Scissor Sisters is so drenched in layers of irony and premeditated, calculated camp that it eludes a rawer, more honest understanding of the emotional value of cheese.
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