Random Access Memories
For their fourth album New York's Scissor Sisters have gone back to first principles.
Where 2010's Night Work hung off a loose concept and embraced the harder, darker edges of disco, Magic Hour is a grab bag of favourite Sisters tropes, taking in dance music of any hue and slapping it down alongside the sort of oompah piano-vamp pop that characterised so much of their first two albums. It's astonishingly varied and alive with colour.
Lead singer and songwriter Jake Shears has worked largely in collaboration with BoysNoize but there's crucial input from commercial dance and R&B behemoths Calvin Harris and Pharrell Williams, and a cameo of real force from flavour of the year Azealia Banks.
Banks brings her arrogant sass to Shady Love, an epic electro samba that previewed online earlier this year. It's probably the standout track but it has competition from the Williams-assisted Fender Rhodes groove of Inevitable and the ballad Year Of Living Dangerously where lush reflection resolves into the sort of wistful violin Yehudi Menuhin specialised in. Lovely.
There's party silliness too in the rather Yello-like Let's Have A Kiki, and Ibizan chills in the Spanish guitar and salsa vibes of San Luis Obispo. It's all part of the rich tapestry of a glorious pop album.