Scissor Sisters know how to put down a good, at times great, pop song. Their fourth album is another example of their mix of catchy melodies and dance beats. But Magic Hour, like every Scissor Sisters album, has it’s low points. Despite some addition production from Diplo and a guest vocal from Azilia Banks, Magic Hour is very tame for Scissor Sisters.
“You’ve got to learn self control”, Jake Shears sings on “Self Control” and there’s no doubt that Scissor Sisters has self control on Magic Hour but there’s too much restraint and the album never takes a chance to have a really massive dance song like their anthemic, “Fire With Fire” from their fantastic 2010 album, Night Work.
“Baby Come Home” opens the album with a funky bass line and some hard synths, but the song is too slow and while Shears is still a good singer, he sounds like he’s just filling in the gaps and not taking lead enough. “Keep Your Shoes” has some of the really sexy lyrics that were all over Night Work, but the chorus is too ridiculous.
“Inevitable” and “The Secret Life of Letters” are smooth ballads that Scissor Sisters have worked with before, but they sound more determined on these tracks to sound like The Bee Gees and while it’s not a bad thing, placing these tracks towards the beginning and the end of the album give a bad impression and makes the overall sound of Magic Hour almost like a ballad album. Ugh.
“Only The Horses” has Diplo bringing in his production chops and it shows. The song has some really nice sounding synths and a really driving beat. Jack Shears’ voice could have used some help on this track and while it ends up being one of the best on Magic Hour, it can’t add up to much compared with other songs in the band’s catalog.
“Shady Love” might have plenty of interesting Scissor Sisters’ lyrics and a guest spot by Azilia Banks, but there’s not enough going on for the song to keep up the energy for four minutes. And Shears does his best at pulling off a rap, but it sounds very forced, and Banks isn’t given enough to work with.
“Somewhere”, an upbeat dance song that blends in just the right amount of balladry, closes out Magic Hour and while it’s the best song here, it’s too little too late. Scissor Sisters spent too much time on this record going for a more serious and refined sound, and it worked against them. There’s nothing wrong with many of the songs on Magic Hour, but these tracks don’t have enough momentum for a dance album and is sure to disappoint fans of the group’s earlier works.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10.