Pet Shop Boys – Electric Review

I thought that i’d do something a little different with my next album review and when I heard all the fuss about their twelfth album Electric, I was a little intrigued. History has treat them well when you look back to the era of their prime. They provided a little sense of style and sanity in a chart filled with Australian soap stars and hugely over produced ballad deliverers. The charts were in much of the same state they were then as they are now with the current plastic-pop epedemic. In a society dictated by age they won’t be giving us any hope amongst the ashes in 2013. But in their 27th year they probably don’t need to and it would not seem they have mellowed with age yet either.

‘Axis’ has a lot of those standard 80’s dance electronica sounds backed up with an early 90’s dance beat and Daft Punk style vocoder intervals with the vocals. The repetitive dub-step intervals are used sparingly and wisely so as not to dictate the whole song but also to create a retro and modern comprimise between the sounds to create a song that will probably appeal to fans old and new. It also should be noted that the dance/electric genre can produce a tune and a rythm and should not be over shadowed by the soul-destroying rave music that people stick glowsticks up their arses to. Unsuprisingly their second single ‘Vocal’ contains more vocals… Neil Tennants voice is recorded in a very isolated way which of course makes it more prominent and allows them to shift focus to the lyrics a little more too. The samples and synth sounds more or less follow Tennant’s direction and are a little more melodic and less brash than that of ‘Axis’ and the song has a more defined direction and is more on the fringes of pop while maintaining that dance element to it. It has depth too with more stripped back and pure vocal moments to all out synth instrumentals. The song all in all flows well and is plain and simple a catchy tune. There’s no stop start frustrations and doesn’t go overkill with every damn synth and sample they can chuck at it. This also allows the standard synth sound in the track to be acting as the hook which is something many dance tracks don’t really have as they are often padded out with very similar sounding samples. Again this puts them at a superior standing to their counterparts terrorising some poor Greeks and Spaniards to no end.

‘Inside A Dream’ is also set apart from the other two songs as it’s focus and driving force is on a consistent bass sample which also acts as the hook and the stable force in the song. Vocals are of less importance because of this but do come in from times to times to almost act as a harmony for the bass sound. It also has a sound wave moments and very retro chime sounds going on too. The bass sample also goes into cascading moments too which really work. What doesn’t is the odd, deep vocoder moments at the start. But on the whole it’s another song that works well and this song particularly has much more of an atmosphere to it and has much space for the vocals and instrumentals to sort of fall into which is achieved by not cramming too many elements into the song and by fading those that are there out. Again this more considered and intelligent approach works well for them. ‘Thursday’ is also different is it’s almost a straight up hark back to their late 80’s spec then the string and piano elements come in to create some whirlly pop ballad. I listened in fear of Examples contribution but it was bearable as he just maintained a minimal talking part. The backing vocal and the chorus in general is a little too pop and too cheesy perhaps. Then Example gains a bigger singing and rapping part which while they make the best of him, the best ain’t great and it could have easily have been a B-Side or whatever. But apart from that odd slip, they have produced a pretty solid album. There are moments to get up and dance to if you wish, you have the more ponderous moments to just sit and listen to the melody and the lyrics, while you can also indulge in the past while maintaining the present elements in their music. I am happily suprised by Electric. It shows dance music and synth-pop is not all the same and can become a considered and highly developed piece of music. But sadly perhaps only the Pet Shop Boys can manage that.

Pet Shop Boys – Electric = 8/10

File:Pet Shop Boys - Electric.png

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