Album: Scissor Sisters, Night Work (Polydor)

They'll go 'fnar': the Scissor Sisters carry on camping
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The Independent Culture

Were he to hear the third album by Scissor Sisters, Viz character Finbarr Saunders' (he of the double entendres) head would explode, such is the level of innuendo and smut.

Take the slinky and stealthy "Whole New Way", large chunks of whose melody are nicked from the Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand", which prominently features the Kenneth Williams-esque pun "I've got your tail between my legs". Or perhaps "Harder You Get", which with lines such as "I've got some apples/ If you want 'em you can grab 'em" is more of a single entendre. And then there's "Skin This Cat", an extended pussy gag of which Mrs Slocombe would be proud, courtesy of Ana Matronic, the unsung heroine of Scissor Sisters, who prowls this album like a cougar.

Night Work comes at a make-or-break time for Scissor Sisters: public affection has seemingly waned, and a four-year gap is an aeon in pop, so it's important they get it right. Reportedly, a previous version was scrapped, and long-time Madonna producer Stuart Price brought in for the second attempt. The results are mostly good, although lead single "Fire with Fire" is a bit too Robbie Williams for these tastes. Price has focused the Scissors on the dancefloor, with booty-shaking octave basslines all around.

The opening – and title – track expresses Shears & co's disbelief that they've found a job where "the weekday nine-to-five shift is over", like their luck has only just dawned on them. This exuberance carries them a long way, but there's a definite slump in the middle. On the sixth track of 12, they speak of "running out" of cash, fame and so on. They might have added "ideas" to the list, because it's followed by "Something Like This", featuring yet another pounding bassline and the utterly forgettable falsetto disco of "Skin Tight".

Love them or hate them, the first two SS albums could never be called "samey", but Night Work runs that danger. It picks up with "Sex and Violence", a superior piece of synth sleaze, and the daft "Nightlife", with its Rolling Stones woo-woos. "Invisible Light" is a strangely mournful finale to a relentlessly upbeat album which, for much of its length, might have been titled Carry on Scissor Sisters.