Anticipation has been high, largely because – some almighty live performances aside – the PSB’s prolific last decade has been a little dry in the fun stakes.
And ‘Electric’ undeniably sounds like it was an absolute hoot for Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe and producer Stuart Price to make. At its lightest, it’s a rollicking electro mess around, painted in bold shades of contemporary chart-pop and knowing ’80s-isms. Tracks like the sinuous ‘Axis’ and vocodor-ific ‘Shouting in the Evening’ are great, trashy fun… yet it’s hard to feel wholly invested.
Much of ‘Electric’ feels like the ordinarily deadpan duo have curated a series of modern ideas that amuse them, rather than created the best songs within their power – you can practically hear Tennant’s eyebrows whoosh up in wry amusement during Example’s exquisitely shit guest rap on ‘Thursday’.
Nothing wrong with a bit of dilettantism, but the fact is that ‘Electric’s more earnest songs are patently its best. ‘Love Is a Bourgeois Construct’ is wonderful, a sweetly poignant ditty about an embittered socialist, and the brooding electro one-two of ‘Fluorescent’ and ‘Inside a Dream’ feel more convincing than the forced euphoria on display elsewhere. And despite the duo’s history of arch covers, the take on recent Springsteen album track ‘Last To Die’ is respectful and heartfelt, a moving requiem.
The Pet Shop Boys can cut it on the dancefloor – but that’s not actually why we fell for them in the first place. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.
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Enfolded within Camden Market, this building may have been a horse hospital at one point in its lifetime, but it certainly ain't an animal refuge any more. The cobbled floors remain, as do the stables, but they've been spruced up and turned into booths. The roof terrace has also been revamped with bright colours and twee bunting. The main space is usually decked with artwork on the walls and also has a stage for live bands. There's a cabaret room on the other side of the venue and, of course, a bar serving up the usual tipples. Club nights here usually feature indie-electro, synth-pop, R&B, hip hop and funk.
Venue says: “From Drizzy to Dizzee, we play you the best in hip hop, trap and grime every Wednesday at Proud Camden.”