In one year, the Pet Shop Boys have managed to turn themselves around. The lukewarm Elysium caused some to think that the band had finally become irrelevant, but their 12th studio effort quashes this negativity.
Electric sees the now 50-somethings create their own record label, X2, and their sophisticated electro-pop sounds are more fresh and vital than ever.
The nine-track effort was written largely in response to Elysium’s sombre and more reflective outlook. This time around the duo turn their sights – at least according to producer, Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers) – towards “Old school synth and drum programming with new computer mangling”.
The pair swing on “Axis”, where dark beginnings give way to New Order-like synths, before the upbeat, “Bolshy”, where Bolshevik sound bites and catchy riffs create an interesting interplay.
The record peaks with the tongue-in-cheek “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct”, where a choir similar to the one on “Go West” is used to denounce love with lyrics that are as witty and sharp as Morrissey’s.
It makes the following “Fluorescent” rather disappointing, being yet another celebration of a pretty young thing. Things improve with a Bruce Springsteen cover, “Last To Die”, and “Thursday”. The latter features rapper Example and shares some elements with “West End Girls”, without being a complete rehash of old material.
Electric sees the energy soar as the Pet Shop Boys pump the air and stomp around a space discothèque, sounding as bubbly as Coke and as shiny as the midday sun. The result is an exuberant and energetic record.
Originally published on 1 August 2013 at the following website: http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/reviews/new-music/329889/electric.htm
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