Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah
Second albums often come with a huge weight of expectation, particularly when they follow enormously popular debuts. And when you consider that the first album from Scissor Sisters was the biggest seller of 2004, there is a lot of pressure on this New York band to deliver the goods. Ta-Dah certainly reeks of effort, despite the slightly dismissive, downbeat title (the sort of thing you might half-heartedly say sardonically whilst pointing at something slightly insignificant). However, at times it seems to have been made with too much effort, which makes listening to it a slightly exhausting activity.
It starts off strong, with the lead single I Don't Feel Like Dancin' kicking things off with its Leo Sayer vibe and Sir Elton banging away on the ol' Johanna. She's My Man follows, its intro sounding like a long-forgotten ITV children's kid show, full of crunchy music that makes you want to sway from side to side with your hands in your pockets. However, track 3 I Can't Decide is just annoying, a banjo-plucking piece of nonsense that is embarrassing rather than amusing. It almost kills the album stone dead, Lights sounding so overdone that its almost an effort to listen to it.
And this is what I think is the problem with this album - a times, its just background music - the sort of music you might have on in the car, but you don't actually listen to it. Your mind wanders and suddenly you find yourself 10 miles down the road with no real recollection of that part of the journey or what you were listening to. It just passes you by, harmless enough to listen to but with nothing to draw you in. The production is so slick and smooth, packed with bright colours and shapes, but you still forget what you are listening to. It doesn't help that so much of it sounds the same - Ooh, Paul McCartney, The Other Side, three very similar songs, with slightly different tempos.
Its not all bad though - Land of a Thousand Words stands out, a tender, piano driven ballad, and Might Tell You Tonight is a great song, a hint of Gilbert O'Sullivan with some lovely flourishes and bursts of music. And whilst it struggles to stand out amid the tracks surrounding it, Paul McCartney is a funky little number. Album closer Everybody Wants the Same Thing is also pretty good, more the sound of the band playing together with less fussy production. Bonus track Transistor is also pretty good, a slow, atmospheric track full of spurts of guitar. It’s much better than some of the songs on the album itself.
This album is a curious mixture of songs that are stuck between trying to sound new whilst referencing the past. It is almost too much to take in on one continuous listen, the production so glossy and rich making it hard to stomach sometimes. Its certainly an accomplished collection of songs, which showcase the talents of the group, but at times it seems that they are just trying that little bit too hard.