Graham Reid | | 1 min read
In the same way you splutter, "Well, I never saw that one coming" about the film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, you might utter the same about this where Australia's electronica dance duo Pnau sample from Elton John's Seventies albums . . . and get him to the top of the British charts for the first time since a greatest hits back in 1990.
If however you had followed the fine print in Elton's recent career -- the bit behind the Aids fundraisers and parenting stories -- you'd know a few years ago in Australia he was smitten by the music of this pair (Peter Mayes and Nick Littlemore, the latter also in glam-camp Empire of the Sun) and invited them to Britain where he has subsequently mentored them.
So maybe not quite as unexpected as Honest Ab taking his ax to an army of night-dwelling demons, perhaps?
Interestingly Pnau keep Elton's vocals in the centre of the frame so although there are subtle mix-ups of lines, verses and chorus from diverse songs, the whole has a coherent feel about it.
It isn't all dance beats (the title track is though) and retro disco (Sad is a real mirrorball treat). Black Icy Stare is dramatic pop-rock (yes, with beats), Foreign Field is a widescreen ballad leaning on Elton's High Flying Bird and Telegraph to the Afterlife is slightly spooky space-pop which is closer to classic Pink Floyd than anything in Elton's lengthy catalogue.
The album is short (just over half an hour) but is more than an interesting footnote in Elton's career, and whets the appetite for any new Pnau album (although their last Elton-mentored outing wasn't well received).
Like the sound of this? Then here's another mash-up.