Review: Pet Shop Boys – Electric
Published on July 17th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Funny one, this: Pet Shop Boys looked to have forfeited any remaining relevance with their profoundly typical Elysium album of last year, but little did we know they had Electric up their sleeves.
With Stuart Price behind the desk, Electric sees Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe take their long-since-established signature synth-pop and mess it up in some thrillingly disorienting ways.
The stretches of more familiar-sounding Pet Shop Boys territory are easier to digest when theyre surrounded by the kind of whirring ambient synth that introduces album-opener “Axis” and later “Inside a Dream”, and there are lovely, lysergically whispered bits dripped all over the, er, Shop.
“Bolshy” is tremendous, its velvety/silky strand of clubbiness coming across like a more eccentric take on Lightning Seeds’ overlooked ‘disco’ album Tilt, while “Love is a Bourgeois Construct” finds an effectively effected Tenant vocal chipping in with killer lines like “Searching for the soul of England / Drinking tea like Tony Benn”.
A nod to the grinding, mechanical rhythm of the surprisingly abrasive “Shouting in the Evening” before we get onto the sole duffer on Electric; “Thursday” is damn near abysmal, a limp and pointless outing compounded by a chorus of “Starting tonight / Let’s do it right / I wanna know you’re gonna stay for the weekend” and a guest rap from Example that brings to mind John Barnes on “World in Motion”, only with less charm.
We shan’t let this indulgence spoil Electric for us, though; just when it looked as if Pet Shop Boys really were going west, they’ve sunk their still-sharpened claws back into a landscape that seemed to have left them behind.
Electric is out now on x2 Recordings.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!