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4.6 out of 5 stars
28
4.6 out of 5 stars
Battleship Potemkin
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£13.80+ £1.26 shipping


on 5 September 2005
A year ago, twenty-thousand people crowded into Trafalgar Square in London in the rain to watch a black-and-white silent Soviet-era propaganda film. The majority, probably, went to see the Pet Shop Boys.
This is not the first time the duo have strayed out of traditional pop music. They've already written and staged a musical in the West End, done a three-week residency at the Savoy Theatre, and worked with a range of artists including Derek Jarman and Sam Taylor-Wood.
This time, they've brought in orchestrator Torsten Rasch and the Dresdner Sinfoniker, to create a new soundtrack for Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin.
The music is easily recognisable as the Pet Shop Boys, a mixture of electronics and orchestral sounds, and it's highly accomplished.
But, without the movie, it's not necessarily the easiest listen - the music was written to the movie, and so there are long, fairly repetitive instrumental passages which work much better alongside Eisenstein's visuals. A DVD release of the movie with the new soundtrack would have been a better idea than the music alone.
This is not a follow up to the group's last studio album. There are only really two songs, as such, "No time for tears" and "After all". Both would easily sit on a regular Pet Shop Boys studio album, "After all" in particular works as a very angry response to the war in Iraq.
It's twenty years since West End Girls was released, and the Pet Shop Boys have evolved from a pop group to a kind of arts project.
Battleship Potemkin is not a classical album. Neither is it a pop album. To be prepared, twenty years into your career, to repeatedly head in a new direction shows exactly why the Pet Shop Boys are still around, and still relevant.
And, as usual, the sleeve is impeccably designed....
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on 23 April 2006
It is almost impossible to write a successful soundtrack album - how can music designed to accompany a film work without the visual imagery? However, Tennant and Lowe have managed, because this album was designed from the start to make sense by itself (or so I would speculate). If you don't feel any sympathy for the Pet Shop Boys, then you will hate this. However, if you do like PSB, or you're prepared to keep an open mind, then I think you will like this combination of string orchestra and synthesiser music. There are lots of good tunes, and the sound is spectacular. This is, in its way, pretty unbeatable.
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on 22 October 2005
What a soundtrack! This is PSB personified in their familiar but never tiresome electro/orchestral music.
This album is a treat for any PSB fan or anyone with a passion for the Russian sound, a sound of hardship and exhaustive conditions, so well portrayed in this masterpiece.
In Neil's own words; "Foreground music" and deservedly so. A courageous album for any artist except Tennant/Lowe, for they are now at a stage where they can undertake any project and produce a winner.
I urge you to buy and listen to this album. You will not regret it.
Best track (in my humble opinion): 'Night Falls'. Try listening to it without getting clear images in your mind, it cannot be done.
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on 23 September 2005
I was fortunate to be able to "see" this record in sync with the film a year ago in Trafalgar Square. The atmosphere was electric, particularly during the "Men and Maggots" sequence, as well as "Drama" and After All". It is a bit of a shame the DVD wasn't released as well, but perhaps this enhances the effect that the cd has on its own. This is a bold and impressive soundtrack and the deliberately "small pallette" of sounds does indeed bind the work together effectively. At times it does sound a little dated - although nothing like Genesis prog-rock as a couple of newspaper reviews said at the time - and reminds me a little of the 1984 soundtrack to Fritz Lang's (also silent) "Metropolis". Maybe it's just the black and white film(!) It is hard to single out the best moment of the piece as it has so many, and the more one listens the more they stick in the memory. It is therefore better seen as one continuous track in itself. But my best moment? "Men and Maggots" and its reprise "Stormy Meetings" or else "Drama in the Harbour", all these tunes conveying real apprehension and approaching menace. The up tempo tracks also work surprisingly well. Incidentally, the decision to abandon the "Tears" single was disappointing but probably a good thing as it may not have charted that well as a stand alone cut. I love this record and consider it to be one of the very best things the Pets have ever done (I'll listen to this over any post-Very album anytime).If their music were to head in the general direction of scores and incidental music I believe it would be no bad thing. Natural evolution for a duo for whom the narrow constrains of the pop world are no longer sufficient?
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on 11 October 2005
The masters of all things techno and disco have tried to diversify before by venturing, without much success into musical theatre with Closer to Heaven.
Their latest project, writing a score what some say is one of the greatest movies ever made and others say is over hyped tedious nonsense, is a brave move.
The Boys are used to writing four minute disco numbers, so when they sat down to pen over an hour of non-stop film score, there must have been a few moments of self doubt.
However, Chris and Neil have dug deep into their store of musical influences and produced a likeable piece reminding me of John Barry, Vangelis, Jean Michelle Jarre, Kraftwerk, Orbital, Jeff Wayne and Leftfield all rolled into one.
'No Time for Tears' is an accomplished ballad as is 'For Freedom' and the infamous staircase sequence is a toe tapping sequence.
For me the only downfall is 'Our Daily Bread', which out of context from the movie is unlistenable too.
No doubt Pet Shop fans will be divided over this project. There are many who desperately want them to produce an epic disco album that has reminders of their chart topping past and this does nothing to satisfy that desire. Others will be pleased to add an interesting hour or so of Pet Shop Boys melodies to their collection, content with waiting until 2006 for the arrival of their next cd.
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on 18 September 2005
They never went away, but you feel like emailing all your friends and saying "They're Back!" If you spend a large amount of time marvelling at such superb songwriting and production, then this CD is for you.
This is a superb recording and so VERY PSB it's almost unreal... All the trademark sounds and traits are there.. One moment you're listening to a gorgeous classical arrangement, the next you're elevated into a hi-energy piece of stomping synth pop that delivers you even more hidden sounds that you didn't hear last time. Today alone I bet I've listened to this CD at least 15 times, primarily because I like to be able to find my way around each track note by note, chord by chord, sound by sound but also because its just such an addictive album to listen to.
My favourite pieces are probably No Time for Tears, Full Steam Ahead & Squadron, however as it's essentially a continuous piece of music as it's a soundtrack, collectively I have to say I love all of it. Naturally I'm not biased! Much.
If you love synth music and anaylsing one of our greatest duos work then this is an essential addition to your collection.
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on 19 September 2005
Its quite odd that an album that has minimal vocals from Neil would be so good - in fact its quickly becoming my favorite PSB associated release of all time. A one sentence synopsis would say something like "orchestal movements with electronic flourishes" but it is so much more! The strings swell at just the right moments, Neils vocals, while scarce, are used at exactly the right moments. If you enjoy this, I highly recommend Stephen Jones (ex babybird) soundtrack work
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on 7 October 2005
Chris Low and Neil Tennant are definitely continuing their musical journey. After Closer to Heaven (what a shame there is no DVD!!) now this piece of Art. I dare to call this a truly new Art of music - a mixture between pop and classical; motion of mind expressed in classical and modern way. Thank you - once again. Mostly recommended not only to Pet Shop Boys fans!
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on 12 September 2005
Brilliant rousing music to accompany Eisenstein's epic groundbreaking film. The score updates Potemkin into a timeless classic narrative about oppression and revolutionary idealism. Only Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have the flair and intelligence to produce work of this quality that does not override what Eisenstein wanted but works in synthesis. "After all" sounds frighteningly contemporary and if you were at Trafalgar Square you would have heard the shock ripple through the crowd during the Odessa Steps sequence. Shocking. Very PSB. Buy it and love it. Adore it if you like your Russian History. Please PSB bring out the version with the film if you are allowed! Many of us have waited a year for this to come to CD but would also like the DVD as it is hard to sync up with a standard Potemkin!
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on 2 September 2005
I was there at Trafalgar Square last year and saw there live performance of this soundtrack with the film and have been waiting ALL year for it to come out. It was AMAZING! Now I can't wait to hear it proper like. If your a fan of Russian Revolutions, Pet Shop Boys and old black and white films this is your bag. Shame the DVD with the soundtrack isn't out yet though.
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