It’s only ten months since the Pet Shop Boys released their last album, but they’re back already and with a real sense of urgency and intensity about them.
But if that was the end, then Electric is a bright new beginning, finding them sounding as fresh and energetic as you could hope for.
Perhaps the lukewarm reaction to both their Olympics ceremonial appearances and Elysium is responsible for the urgency that led to them starting recording this new album less than two months after releasing their last one.
Album closer Vocal (which was released last week) does much the same, working as a celebration of great pop music in the same was as many of the tracks from Words And Music by Saint Etienne did last year. By BEING great pop music.
From the washed-out sounds of Elysium, they’ve brought back banging beats that would grace albums made by people half their age, but it fits perfectly, rather than sounding like old men playing a young man’s game.
As if to prove that they can still get down with the kids, they even get Example on board for the great Thursday, and that works so much better than it sounds like it would.
The highlight for me is the track with the title that could almost only be from the Pet Shop Boys, Love Is A Bourgeouis Construct, the perfect blend of Tennant’s lyrics with Lowe’s sonics.
Some of the sense of urgency can be taken from the fact that there’s only nine tracks here, like they couldn’t wait to have more songs to get Electric out there.
One of the tracks is a cover, too, taking Bruce Springsteen’s epic John Kerry-quoting The Last To Die and making it sound like it was always meant to be done by them (if not quite matching the original).
If Elysium was the sound of disenfranchised elder statesmen carping about the youth at the side of an LA swimming pool, Electric is the sound of masters of their trade doing what only they can do and having a great time doing it.
It’s the first time since Fundamental that they’ve sounded entirely comfortable in their own skins and it adds up to a great Pet Shop Boys album.