A dozen records into a 30-plus-year career and the British synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys sound as vital, catchy and frustrated as ever.
Modern without feeling forced and filled with the melodic bounce that typifies their best work, "Electric," in a word, bangs, and sees the Pet Shop Boys at their most celebratory and wittiest. "Love Is a Bourgeois Construct" giddily denounces love with a big thumping dance beat while in the background a men's choir offers majestic harmony. "Shouting in the Evening" builds to a crescendo while Neil Tennant sings of a simple pleasure: "What a feeling, shouting in the evening."
Most impressive is the album's freshness, no doubt ferried along by producer Stuart Price, best known for his work with, among others, Madonna, the Killers and Scissor Sisters. In fact, were this exact record released by two handsome 21-year-olds with a hot label, the young dance freaks would go crazy. But two young dudes couldn't make a synth-pop record so polished and seamless, one with a maturity matched only by the constant quest for surprise. Only the Pet Shop Boys can do that, as evidenced by "Electric."
Pet Shop Boys
Three-and-a-half stars (out of four)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun