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4.3 out of 5 stars
Electric [VINYL]
Format: VinylChange
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2013
I like the people, I like the song, this is my kind of music, they play it all night long.

The first time I heard Vocal, I couldn't believe it was PSB, it's an epic tune. I am gutted I haven't been able to get to a show this year, just for that, all those lasers. I was filled with utter green envy watching that crowd go bananas on the concert they did in Buenos Aires almost at the beginning of the Electric Tour.

I have been a fan for a long time, because they have been around for a long time, and I feel I have learnt alot through their influences, in art, history, social observations etc... but I think Electric is almost devoid of it's need to get deep, like another review on here, it's less about the lyrical content, the story and more about the energy and excitement. It feels more like a Chris Lowe project than a Neil Tennant one for sure, but the lyrics are still exceptional on some tracks.

I don't know what anyone else thought when they announced they were doing a Bruce Springsteen song, but I thought 'oh dear' but it is gorgeous, I have even found myself listening to the original, and I never thought I would do that! Electric has had comparisons to Introspective, but I feel it's more like Please, and I am enjoying it immensely, i'm probably going to go deaf from the volume, shame you can't really drive with lasers in the car.

With every artist, you cannot please everyone all the time and as a fan you can't like everything that is released. I can't bear 'Before' and they released that as a single over 'It always comes as a suprise' which is honestly beautiful and of it's time.

Anyway, Electric is exciting and the first of 3 albums they are doing with Stuart Price I read, if this is what they are starting with, then I will be intrigued and excited to see where they go next.

Also I hope they do some more shows next year, i'm not yet fully fulfilled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ignoring the large recent upsurge in sales Electric has had in the last couple of weeks, by contrast to at least three of its predecessors, many people who profess to be long standing fans of PSB do not like the dance oriented sound of this album. I am not surprised by this as "long standing" could mean in the last 10-15 years, for which much of the time PSB have been concentrating on song writing as much as, if not more so than the music. In this time PSB have acquired quite a few "middle of the road" fans, of which I have generally been a harsh objector, however 'live and let live' is what I say.

This album is innovative, musically fresh and exciting. This is exactly what I considered PSB to be in 1987 (when I was 16,) when I first heard a tape of "Disco" and having already liked "Please". Electric focuses on the music, the atmosphere and messing around with or changing traditional song structures. This won't bode well for the middle of the roads, who like Madonna fans wanting "Papa don't preach" want PSB to re-hash "Suburbia" all the time. But not the version of Suburbia called "The Full Horror" which provided mad sounds of rioting and violence, harsh repetitive beats mixed with suburban desperation; available on Disco. No, these fans want the sing-a-long-a Brit awards medley.

The opener "Axis" which I have heard some fans call "meh" is simply the best PSB album opener in their career. For this we have to compare Axis to "Two divided by zero","For your own good", "One more chance" and dare I say it "In the night" (previously my favourite opener.)

Pet Shop Boys came from innovative dance music and it is hence to where they have returned. This is a joyous thing and I am sorry that some fans, who now may even be somewhat older than me, may not have been dancing around clubs in the 1990s to techno, but it is where they came from. There are plenty of singy-songs PSB have done (they are immensely prolific) so enjoy those. This album however, for me, is the best album since Introspective in terms of music (rather than lyrics) and atmosphere. Its also sold in buckets and 3 months after release was still number 209 in music yesterday.

Now, another anomaly for which I seem to be in the minority; the music press and many of the fans have lauded "Love is a bourgeois construct" as an album high point of Electric. It may be tongue in cheek, witty and knowing (all the usual things we ALL like about PSB,) but for me its the "New York city boy" of this album (yes, that's a BAD thing,) in that its PSB by numbers, its hi energy but it doesn't fit properly with the excellently crafted dance beats, build-drop and general atmosphere they have created on all the other tracks here. For this reason only, the album gets four stars and not 5, despite being the best since Introspective.

I am immensely proud that my second favourite artist of all time, with whom I have carried with me on moves from Blackpool to London, to Manchester, through all kinds of relationship scenarios, can come up with an album of this musical quality for their 12th studio album. This is in no small way also probably due to Stuart Price, who is, and always has been, a massive fan and who has waited for years before collaborating because he did not want to be star struck by their collaboration.

From "Behaviour" onwards there have always been two tracks on a PSB album which I have not liked. I loved "Elysium" and its mood but "Winner" and "Hold on" were quite dreadful for PSB songs, and it asserted this consistent trend. Electric has nothing so dire, just the aforementioned PSB by numbers, "Love is a bourgeois construct (LIABC)".

Many of us don't dance about in clubs any more, but perhaps some of us should (just to confound the BBC vetting its radio shows to ensure there are no 70 year olds listening to techno.) None of this album would be lost in a club. In fact it would and does sound fantastic. I would love to give Electric 5 stars as it is a triumph and would love to say I don't skip LIABC, but in fact I do. Many fans are trying to get in to Electric, which means they haven't and that's a shame. Keep trying, as a piece of modern cutting edge dance music with a twist of 80s, its stunning. And wonderfully it makes Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" sound lame. How good is that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERon 25 September 2014
This is largely very hi-energy pop music, with the focus a bit more on Christ Lowe's synth and electronic wizardry, rather than Neil Tennant's soothing vocals. Bolshy is classic, uplifting and catchy PSB, the sort of track which would be right at home on their old album Introspective - brilliant. Love Is A Bourgeois Construct is very Soft Cell, the thumping synth bass is like a Dave Ball riff, and the semi-spoken lyrics are very Marc Almond. Inside A Dream has beautiful, lush synth chords, and an extremely funky bass beat, it's another song which would make comfortable bedfellows with the songs on Introspective. Shouting In The Evening is frenetic, I think that Chris may have popped one too many Pro Plus pills when he was composing it, but it's still great. Thursday is the best known song here but, actually, it's no better than the other tracks, it's just a little bit more instantly accessible. The album closes with Vocal, yet another song harking back to the addictive melodies of Introspective. There are nine tunes here, and not one is a dud or filler track. I fell in love with the music of PSB back in the late 80's, during my University days, when Introspective rarely left my CD multi-player. I never imagined back then, that 25 years later on, Neil and Christ would still be making wonderful music, that could hold its own with an album as good as Introspective. My cap is duly doffed to the Boys, because that's exactly what they've achieved here.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
While last year's "Elysium" was downtempo, world-weary and a bit of a revisiting of well-trodden PSB territory, "Electric" - produced by dance wunderkind Stuart Price - is that album's antithesis: it's uptempo, energetic and fresh-sounding.

1. "Axis"
The opener to the album is really a statement of intent, without the usual verse/chorus structure we've come to expect from the Boys, and in fact featuring hardly any vocals at all. The message is clear: this is no ordinary PSB studio album. It's a great - if slightly overlong - start.

2. "Bolshy"
Interlaced with lines spoken in Russian (probably an allusion to the derivation of the word "bolshy"), we get to hear Neil Tennant singing for the first time on the album. Halfway through there's a dream of a breakdown that features the kind of cowbells, handclaps and orchestral hits that might have come straight from the Phil Harding remix of "Always On My Mind" circa 1987. A brilliantly catchy track.

3. "Love Is A Bourgeois Construct"
This track is backdropped against a Purcell melody that'll be instantly recognisable to virtually everyone (Michael Nyman also used this melody in his soundtrack to The Draughtsman's Contract). Like most PSB songs based on classical compositions, it doesn't quite work, but it's still highly enjoyable nonetheless.

4. "Fluorescent"
With a sample of what sounds like someone grunting for a snare drum and banks of wibbling synthesisers that constantly threaten to wibble off key, "Fluorescent" is gloriously sleazy-sounding. Tennant sings about a person's beauty and fame, and how both are destined - just like a fluorescent light bulb - not to last forever. Along the way he manages to rhyme "mark" with "oligarch".

5. "Inside A Dream"
The previous track's less sleazy sibling, "Inside A Dream" is a sublime track with a spritely bassline and a percussion sound that might have been lifted straight from Mel & Kim's "Showing Out". There's something indefinably wonderful - dreamy, even - about this song.

6. "The Last To Die"
The only track on the album not written by Tennant and Lowe, this is probably the strongest song on the album, and a testament to Bruce Springsteen's songwriting skills. It somehow manages to be both euphoric and heartbreaking at the same time, and is reminiscent of "Human" by The Killers (also produced by Stuart Price).

7. "Shouting In The Evening"
This track is light on vocals, and is really just based around a single synth riff - but what a riff! Hi-energy, pounding, infectious: that riff would get any club going. My only complaint is that the track goes out with a whimper rather than the bang it deserves.

8. "Thursday"
"Thursday" has the same kind of bassline and synth pads as the Boys' first ever hit "West End Girls" 28(!) years ago. "I wanna know you're gonna stay for the weekend," sings Tennant, followed by Chris Lowe listing the days of the week from Thursday to Sunday. Then up pops Example, whose rapping/singing style suits the song to a T.

9. "Vocal"
The first "proper" single from the album, "Vocal" is an ode to nightclubbing that, suitably enough, is in the generic style of a clubbing track. The melody - or the vocal - lifts it above the average club fodder though, and, as ever, Tennant's voice sounds so right laid on top of an electro dance track.

This is the best Pet Shop Boys album since 1993's "Very", and the most exciting since 1988's "Introspective". You have to wonder whether it's been made possible by the Boys' departure from Parlophone, a label who'd possibly been demanding "Radio 2-friendliness" ever since the Boys' records were dropped from Radio 1's playlists (if so, those same record company execs will be flagellating themselves with their own rulebooks when they hear this album). Or maybe the Boys are just overly fond of coming up with lush, middle-of-the-road ballads.

Either way, it's the energetic tracks that made the Pet Shop Boys' name. I'll never forget the first time I heard the over-the-top thunderousness of "It's A Sin", nor the first time I heard an old Elvis ballad transformed into a joyous show-stopper. "Electric" has the same kind of feel to it, and I can imagine it becoming the soundtrack to summer 2013 for many people. It's been a long time coming, but the Pet Shop Boys are back on top form.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2013
Although it's silly to call "Electric" Pet Shop Boys comeback record considering their latest the ill-fated "Elyssium" came out only a year ago but, as such, "Electric" sounds and feels like the record's a band has waited decades to make for re-launching their career.
"Electric" is PSB most relevant and best record since at least "Very" and to some extent even further back.

Produced by Stuart Price who surely helped re-inventing their classic synths sounds of the 80s, it's clear as the almost intrumental stomping hi-nrg anthem that is "Axis" kicks off that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe were set on fire while making this record, forgetting about the cultural-clash of ageing popstars that pushed them to make vacual records for the past ten years at least and returning to the harder/harsher/cheesier original template they are known for.
Because after all no-one does hi-nrg dance-pop divaesque anthems as they do.

So if "Axis" sets the scene, with his epic but never cheesy synth-line and Stuart Price signature rolling dance production, so well exemplified on Madonna's last great album "Confessions On The Dancefloor", while Tennant whispers in you ears 'Turn It Up' and go... bang, "Axis" sounds somewhere between Italo-Disco/Acid House and Hard-House... in other words: a banger.

Things get camp on the excellent "Bolshy", a track that sees the duo laying a chorus as catchy as classics "It's A Sin" or "West End Girls" flipping over and they return to the politically charged but hugely catchy "Love Is A Bourgeois Construct" featuring some of the finest lyrics since classic 80s PSB. The latest as anthemic as "Go West".
In fact "Electric" is a winner by being short and almost fillers free, they manage to turn the usually hideous Example interesting on the radio-friendly "Thursday".

"Electric" is, in one word, essential. As they proved on recent live shows (including headlining appearance at Sonar) Pet Shop Boys remain on the most striking 80s pop entity and four decades in as unique as the day "West End Girls" first graced the airwaves. They might end up picking up some new fans along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2014
Definitely the strongest thing they've produced in years. I slightly dreaded this release as I'm certainly not what you would call a "dance music" fan. I've always been drawn to Pet Shop Boys by their melodic gifts, interesting lyrics and arrangements but this, their most dance floor orientated release perhaps ever, also happily includes some of the most fresh and interesting songs of their career. Elysium had some moments but it's lows (looking at you "Winner") were enough to bring it down considerably in my estimation. A year since acquiring it I'm still keeping this album in my all time PSB top 5.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2013
As an album this flows beautifully, the songs are all top quality pop - the kind you'll listen to in 30yrs and think - wow I had great taste.

The songs are structured really well(Neil Tennant's Cole Porter wit everpresent), are full of hooks to my ear and and the sound quality is soooo good - more funk than your radio. It'll definitely make you tap your toes/finger click/head nod...dare I say even dance.

Fave: Inside a Dream (best one on here) - tight rolling rhythmic synth sharp/funkier than anyhthing Michael Jackson ever did and Love/Construct. My least favourite track would be Thursday - I just can't get into the 'rap' part...but thankfully this rapper sings following that and has a great voice...that is my only gripe. If their singles were better than most of their b-sides and album tracks then this could be a greatest hits from a parallel universe, it's really that good.

I once felt they had had it - around the Nightlife album and NYC boy and Drunk singles - I was sad.

My opinion may change later, I doubt it, but at this point this IS their best album. Sooo much better than Yes.

I just can't belief how well they've topped themselves yet again....it's given me a great new album buzz...I don't get those very often.

Only a few other albums this year have this buzz to them: IAMX/OMD oh,and Gesaffelstein and Crystal Castles and Erasure and Boys Noize,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2013
I hadn't bought a Pet Shop Boys album in years, despite being a massive fan into my late teens. But I had heard (and loved!) "Love is a Bourgeois Construct", and read that their new album was produced by Stuart Price, and a friend told me that this was their best since Introspective... So I ordered it, and it really is their best since Introspective. Recognisably Pet Shop Boys, with some great 90s rave sounds,but thoroughly contemporary. This deserves to give them a new audience who didn't know them years ago. Brilliant. Buy it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2013
No downtempo tracks on this album; it's full on electronic dance from beginning to end. This has a very electronic vibe with some truely out there sounds.

Listen to Fluorescent for a good example of how well crafted the electronica is on this album.

Listen to Bolshy to make you smile and dance (even has its own acid house breakdown in the middle).

Truely outstanding album.
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on 5 November 2013
Barely 12 months since the release of 'Elysium' and embarking on another tour, I don't know how the Tennant/Lowe stable have found the energy and room in the diary to provide us with latest offering 'Electric.' Now on their own label, the premiss for this album is to throw the rule book out of the window and stray completely off the beaten track of traditional song structure. Exciting eh?!
With complete contrast to 'Elysium', this is PSB hardcore- The synths and sequencers charge out of the speakers like a herd of wild animals who have been chained up for an eternity. Of course, courtesy of messrs Lowe/Gleadall and on this outing 'Les Rythmes Digitales' Stuart Price. This album would not look out of place in Pet Shop Boys' 'Disco' series of long players.
However, it doesn't quite live up to previous dance offering 'Very/Relentless' from 1993,but it is a refreshing PSB journey, proving continued relevancy with guest vocals from Example on track 'Thursday' as well as new material for the massive established for life, fan base. Opener 'Axis' sets the scene nicely for the rest of the album and would fit nicely as an intro to Neil and Chris' tour set. Time for a well deserved rest boys? No chance!!

Disc Jockey.
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