Review Summary: "Everything about tonight feels right and so young"
Right from the beginning of their career, the Pet Shop Boys have always been concerned about reputation and commercial success. They've maintained a certain degree of fame over the years, although at some point ended up painting themselves into a corner while struggling to deliver fresh material. After the mixed reception of the more mature, contemplative Elysium
, they immediately returned to the studio to create a stronger follow-up. Even if last year's effort was mostly hit and miss, it was the expected sound coming from a band whose members push 60 years old. Of course, mediocrity and irrelevancy were the last things the Pet Shop Boys would accept, as they've always set to defy expectations, knowing their own strengths.
So, dropping Electric
less than a year after, the band feels surprisingly revitalized. Focused to recreate what feels like a night out in the club, there's a full palette of old school techno, trance and even rave sounds merged into what feels like a late '80s - early '90s dance music tribute. This time, however, the music has more room to develop, vocalist Neil Tennant often keeping his contribution to a minimum.
As a whole, Electric
is a pretty straightforward affair, built to offer a good time, instead of being dissected and interpreted. Tennant's lyrics are sharp as usual, whether pouring his heart out or celebrating the club culture. There are some infectious grooves here, found on tracks such as 'Vocal', 'Fluorescent' and 'Inside A Dream', which strike a chord to old school fans that caught the original techno wave a couple of decades ago. They are all club oriented and filled with sound pads and samples of the respective era. At the same time, 'Love Is A Bourgeois Construct' is classic Pet Shop Boys. Accompanying Tennant's lovely vocal melody, Chris Lowe's synthesizers also echo the band's highly successful late 80s output. Even the anthemic Bruce Springsteen cover, 'The Last To Die' has been converted into a big party number, perfectly preceding the energetic, rave influenced 'Shouting In The Evening'.
Although it's a great record and a welcomed comeback to their origins, at the end of the day, to some, Electric
might sound outdated. Still, it's beautifully crafted and captures the essence of the Pet Shop Boys, this being the main reason the album deserves a shot. In an attempt to prevent dilution and to prove they aren't willing to rest on their laurels, PTB tried to keep the essential, club oriented tracks only, ignoring the slight angularity that might be revealed in the process. Fans, as well as old school dance enthusiasts will enjoy Electric
most, mainly due to nostalgia and the catchy hooks, while the young audience will probably stick to their current affairs. Nevertheless, the band doesn't let their age slow them down, their sole aim being to continue to party.