Review : Pet Shop Boys - Elysium
GuardianIf pop had an elysium – an afterlife for its heroes – the Pet Shop Boys would surely be promised a place. Their 11th album is a peculiar listen, though. Half of it harks back to 1990's reflective masterpiece, Behaviour, with songs about ageing (Invisible) and escape (Breathing Space) exerting poignant pulls. Leaving is even better, a Balearic epic that just happens to be about death and "the context it provides". The other half, however, feels bitter and flippant. In Ego Music, Neil Tennant criticises young celebrities through a classic in-character rap ("I see myself as a building"), before a silly chorus ("me, me, me, me") sinks the whole endeavour. Your Early Stuff compiles taxi drivers' comments towards the pair – a good idea, but not a great song – while Give It a Go begins like a regional TV theme. Kanye West producer Andrew Dawson provides a light LA gloss, but not the heavenly direction the duo deserve....full text
BbcThere's still no one else quite like the Pet Shop Boys. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe performed at the 2012 Olympic Games’ closing ceremony wearing conical hats that made them look like electro-pop sorcerers.
Now, they’ve named their 11th album Elysium – the place the ancient Greeks sent their Gods for a blissful afterlife. To record it, these quintessential Englishmen decamped to Los Angeles to work with Andrew Dawson, engineer on recent Kanye West albums.
Thankfully, the result is neither a foray into rap music, nor a throwing in of the towel. It's just a quite subdued Pet Shop Boys album. Disco stompers are M.I.A., mid-tempo electro-pop dominant.
That's not to say the album lacks variety. There's an industrial edge to Everything Means Something, while Give It a Go has a 1960s lounge-pop vibe. A song called Hold On was apparently based on Handel, but actually sounds like something from a musical....full text
NmeI still like some of your early stuff”, deadpans Neil Tennant on ‘Your Early Stuff’, an oddly apt sentiment since ‘West End Girls’ jumped back into the charts after the PSBs’ appearance at the Olympics closing ceremony. But their introspective, mainly mid-tempo 11th album is a massive foamy middle-finger to retromania, running elegantly from jangly indie to kraut jabs. ‘Invisible’ movingly vocalises old-age invisibility, and despite an eye-rolling critique of the ‘state of pop’ in ‘Ego Music’, they’re saved by the excellent ‘A Face Like That’, a bolshy dancefloor jam that sounds like, and is truly as good as, their early stuff....full text
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