If you haven’t heard of The Kinsey Sicks yet then where HAVE you been darling? Shamefully I had not come across *ahem* this fabulous four part harmony vocal group either. Not until my younger, hipper, sexier friend Dan shoved their delicious diamante oeuvre in my face. Dan is also funnier than me and he wittily calls the quartet The Chicks With Schticks!
The title of The Kinsey Sicks’ last album neatly summed up their unique genre of music and performance. Dragapella does exactly what it says on the tin: acapella in drag. And what drag it is. Without doing down some of our great drag artistes through history, such as Danny La Rue, Ru Paul or Mae West. Er, no, sorry, wait a minute… I am struck by just how tasteful the Kinsey Sicks’ style is. Though they are indeed very entertaining, their costumes are not played for laughs, or for grotesque parody, they look stylish in their gear, and comfortable. They look better in dresses than I do, damn it!
The ease with which the Kinsey Sicks wear their clothes is echoed by their natural talent as singers. Their stage shows I have seen on YouTube are well choreographed and intricately staged, but really, it is the music that speaks for itself. Listening to their latest album, , Electile Dysfunction with no visuals to distract me, I am struck by just how good they are.
The songs are in the musical theatre tradition, and many are arrangements of well- known numbers, with new – and I have to say perverse – lyrics. ‘Eliminate The Schools’, a jaunty but damning indictment of the privatisation of education in America, is sung skillfully to the tune of ‘Three Little Maids From School’ from the Mikado. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers also get the Kinsey Sicks treatment, with their beautiful Barber Shop Choir style song about the hypocrisy of international diplomacy, called, of course, ‘Sikh to Sheik’.
I am more of a pop tart than a musicals moll myself, so my favourite of the sixteen tracks is T’aint It Love? Marc Almond would be proud of this version of his early 80s electro classic. He may even be a little envious of just how clever the lyrics are, as they convey the delicate dance of men who have sex with men, without being, you know… I think the Sicks are criticising some of the double standards of for example, right wing politicians who espouse ‘homophobic’ views whilst doing homosexual dos. But I found the song left enough ambiguity to satisfy this conflicted ‘homosociality’ aficionado. If we were all out and proud, if there was no ‘closet’ to hide our dirty laundry in, the song suggests, maybe life would be a bit boring?
Boring is not a word anyone could use in relation to Electile Dysfunction. It is an uplifting but also serious romp through some complicated political and ethical issues, which always keeps a smile on its face and a spring in its step. I am sure that it is in live performance that the Kinsey Sicks really razzle dazzle their audiences, but stripped down without the war paint and the dance moves they still dazzle me.
You can buy Electile Dysfunction at Amazon!