This is PSB’s 10th album and it’s the latest in a series of reissues that we’ve been enjoying.
We were never massive PSB fans, the early singles aside (though we have seen them live, and surely no-one actually dislikes the Boys) but being sent albums to review, we’ve been impressed at the intelligence and diversity.
This album was recorded with Xenomania, famous for co-writing Cher’s hit Believe, and later, Girls Aloud’s Sound Of The Underground. This all sounds like Pet Shop Boys roped in hitmakers with the aim of not making hits, though there are plenty of good moments; it’s more like a cult art-electronic album than one that was nominated in the best electronic/dance album category at the 52nd Grammy awards.
The sleeve notes have a detailed and interesting description of the song-writing process, and introduce the word “lyricing”.
Opener is Love etc, which was Xenomania’s best backing trick, nicked by the PSBs, and turned into a call and response song containing lots of catchy phrases, such as “big bucks Hollywood star” and “super car to go far”.
Track two is the slowly euphoric All Over The World, which steals from Tchaikovsky and a radio hit the PSBs heard touring South America. “Attractively banal” they call the song in the sleeve notes; Brian Higgins, of Xenomania, said they’d made the album 20% better with this one track.
Standout is probably Pandemonium, a song written for Kylie Minogue and about a Kate Moss-type person singing to a Pete Doherty-type person. Johnny Marr plays harmonica. “We didn’t know he could play, he went to the boot of his car and whipped out his harmonica,” says Chris Lowe. The Dr Who theme is in there, too.
The sleeve notes, while entertaining, reflect the density of the songs, and the amount of work that goes into making PSB tracks. Some people (Mozart, Neil Young, Jeff Lynne) just have tunes materialise in their heads, the PSBs seem to build them brick by brick, but probably have a lot more fun.
This comes with those extensive and readable notes, plus a bonus CD of outtakes and demos.
Yes. Buy it.