While Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe) have mostly been off my radar since the early 90’s, they’ve continued to put out records every few years and have maintained a large loyal following. And like many artists who have been around a long time, they seem to be coming full circle.
ELECTRIC, THE BAND’S 12th STUDIO ALBUM IS A SOLID ELECTRONIC DANCE ENTRY AND IS DEFINITELY THEIR STRONGEST SHOWING IN RECENT YEARS.
Pet Shop Boys latest album—Electric.
Every track is an upbeat synthy wheat grass shooter that will fit right into your summer soundtrack and make you want to grab a glow stick and get your dance on.
While some have drawn comparisons between Daft Punk and this PSB release, and there are some definite synth moments that feel reminiscent of the Tron Legacy soundtrack, that is where the similarities end. Daft Punk has taken a decidedly funkier turn with Random Access Memories while PSB have stayed pretty true to their electronic roots. However, the two albums compliment each other really well in play.
Some might see Electric as safe territory for PSB, however I think the timing of this album is right for old and new fans alike. Most popular during the height of Reaganomics, and what I fondly recall as the eurotrash era—PSB always seemed to walk the line between mass appeal and intelligent political commentary. Only a handful of other hugely popular acts of the day—The Psychedelic Furs come to mind—were able to pull off similar feats. They also paved the way for other electronic acts at a time when it was still a little weird to have just two dudes and a bunch of gear and go on tour. I haven’t been able to see them live yet for this tour, but I’m betting it will be one to remember and I’ll definitely be there if they come this way.
Pet Shop Boys—artwork from their single, Vocal
I loved the album as a whole, enjoying the more traditionally electronic tracks the most.
Inside A Dream (Track 5), Fluorescent (Track 4) and Shouting In The Evening (Track 7) were electronic standouts that I almost wanted to be longer. Most of the tracks stuck with the PSB legacy with a few exceptions: Thursday (Track 8) was a fresh take on their previous work. The 80’s bell synth sounds and pizzicato string samples were topped with a vocal injection from Brit rapper Example with a cohesive result. The cover they did of Springsteen’s The Last To Die (Track 6) felt poignant and current. Below, Vocal (Track 9), the last and most popular track on the album is featured.
While Electric has a decidedly pop feel, it’s my favorite electronic album since Tron Legacy and will likely stay on my rotation list for a long time.