Pet Shop Boys

Electric

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

While it entirely feels like a return to form, there's nothing quite like Electric in the Pet Shop Boys' back catalog, at least not on an album level. Immediately achieving escape velocity from the dour doldrums of their previous effort Elysium, this taut, electro-disco wonder kicks off with the Kraftwerk-meets-Giorgio Moroder highlight "Axis" and stays in the zone with both icy cool productions from Stuart Price (Madonna, Seal, Kylie Minogue) and a bpm count that remains high with nothing coming close to a slow dance ballad. While previous albums were broken up by large scale numbers like "It Couldn't Happen Here" or slow burners like "Love Comes Quickly," this one adds variety by going for danceable wit ("Love Is a Bourgeois Construct" so "You won't see me with a bunch of roses/Promising fidelity"), sheer joy ("Bolshy" is both ridiculous and ridiculously fun), and Bruce Springsteen ("The Last to Die" is a cover of the Boss' anti-war number, now turned into a floor-filler, and it somehow works). With PSB members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe already known for their dry delivery, "Thursday," with rapper Example, turns into a grand, posh posse cut with a razor-sharp crease, and when the closing highlight "Vocal" offers "Everything about tonight feels right and so young," former Smash Hits critic Tennant could replace "tonight" with "the album" for his headline review. Keeping the track list to nine cuts only sharpens the effort, but these dance numbers are allowed to run past the six-minute mark when need be, as if Electric were some kind of 12" collection of alternate universe, fan favorites. An excellent, unexpected, and infectious triumph.

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