H&H // ELECTRIC LP – PET SHOP BOYS
Originally posted on Hooting & Howling
Eleven Pet Shop Boys albums have graced our ears prior to this week’s arrival, but very few have reached the mark and level of creative genius the duo are proving to be setting with the twelfth studio album, ‘Electric‘, and with Stuart Price at the helm – from the tasters of singles so far – it’s true to be said that nothing can quite go wrong.
From the very first few keyboard trickery delays of ‘Axis‘, it’s clear they’re already onto a winner, and within seconds the build up turns into a complex weave of synth-lines and pulses that slam the album into action, the constant command of “turn it up” resonating throughout. ‘Bolshy‘ follows up with a calypso vibe throughout, and it’s undoubtedly the most fun thing this album has to offer – even if the underlying meaning is that of Bolshevik.
‘Love Is A Bourgeois Construct‘ features more underlying intellect as expected, referencing a David Lodge novel, but with such an amalgamation of everything; be it a bit melodramatic, a bit camp and a lot of fuzzy synths, it’s got Pet Shop Boys written all over it; pure pop brilliance. The tongue in cheek lyrics – “I’ve been thinking how I can’t be bothered to wash the dishes or remake the beds, What’s the point when I could dust instead?” to compliment a hint of Henry Purcell’s King Arthur semi-opera, and make it quite simply majestic.
‘Fluorescent”s relaxing shimmer – the closest the album gets to its predecessor – gets mixed with a healthy serving of fuzz bass and percussive samples, before ‘Inside A Dream‘ plunders in-house territory with an ingraining click and sampled vocoders, gradually wrestling itself into a monster.
Tennant and Lowe even transform Bruce Springsteen’s (yes, really) ‘The Last To Die‘ into a melancholy floorfiller, and one that excels at that, to make the most unlikely of covers an absolute triumph. Similar preconceptions about Example guesting on penultimate track ‘Thursday‘ are also cast away in similar fashion, as thunderously catchy synths and talk of the weekend render this a surefire radio smash, and if it’s not all over the airwaves this season, then there’ll be words – but then again, Example gets everywhere these days, doesn’t he?
Interjecting those two though is ‘Shouting In The Evening‘, starting off as peacefully as ‘Fluorescent‘, before swiftly abandoning all in favour of a crunching techno beat; it’s a well executed, and almost necessary moment that’ll turn your mind to disarray for just over 3 minutes – the shortest track on the album proving time isn’t a concern of anyone’s – the album itself is only a mere 9 tracks – but this is just enough.
After the distanced nature of ‘Elysium‘, ‘Electric‘ feels like a rebirth of sorts – it may well have been 33 years since their debut, but Pet Shop Boys are still managing to create flawless music, and this is a culmination of a lot of it in just over 40 minutes, rendering them STILL untouchable. Here’s to another 33 years.