Pet Shop Boys
Jul 18, 2013 Web Exclusive
It's been less than a year since veteran synthpop wizards Pet Shop Boys released their mellow and moody eleventh studio album, Elysium. Having left Parlophone Records after 25 years, they've quickly returned with a brand new album on a brand new label. Produced by Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers, Scissor Sisters), Electric sounds like the duo's retort to the disappointment expressed by fans and critics about the absence of Pet Shop Boys' signature lively and danceable pop on Elysium. Indeed, even vocalist Neil Tennant jokingly said in a recent interview that Electric was partly inspired by an iTunes reviewer who'd wished Elysium had more "banging and lasers."
"Banging and lasers" abound on Electric, and it all kicks off with the mostly instrumental, high-intensity, outer space-y lead single "Axis." What follows is a batch of bright and shiny pop gems, such as the tropical and bouncy "Bolshy" and the smart, club-ready "Love Is a Bourgeois Construct." The silky "Fluorescent" and darker "Inside a Dream" precede the odd but catchy cover of Springsteen's "Last to Die." Electric also contains one of the best Pet Shop Boys songs of the last 20 years, "Thursday," which features English rapper Example and could've easily been nestled somewhere on the duo's seminal 1986 debut album, Please.
Electric is not without its clunkers—two, to be exact: the never-really-goes-anywhere raved-out second single "Vocal" and the outrageously rambunctious and over-the-top "Shouting In the Evening," which is rendered virtually unlistenable by its jarring instrumental refrain. Even still, Tennant and Chris Lowe hit far more often than they miss here; Electric is the most boisterous and lively Pet Shop Boys album since Very. (www.petshopboys.co.uk)
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10