Pet Shop Boys: Electric (x2)

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Pet Shop Boys: Axis
Pet Shop Boys: Electric (x2)

The PSBoys' aural fingerprint is so distinctive that it might be possible to go two ways on this one.

You could say "heard it all before" in terms of dancefloor-directed beats, cool observations, themes of ennui and loneliness . . . Or you could say you love these dancefloor-directed beats, cool observations, themes of ennui and loneliness . . .

You cannot deny how much firepower this -- produced by Stuart Price -- has however.

These are mostly nail-driving electrobeats and although it's perhaps uneasy that these elder statesmen should still be singing of need and clubland music like their much younger selves, they shave off some interesting edges.

The killer for its pure pulling power of pop and dance it Love is Bourgeois Contruct which could only come from PSBoys with its jaded post-grad cynicism, self-centredness, social observation and dry wit. It also samples from Henry Purcell, not the most common source material for clubbers.

No, it's hardly new from them, but you can't imagine anyone else doing this.

At the other end however is their cover of Springsteen's anti-war Last to Die (from '07's Magic album) which, oddly enough, slips in here seamlessly because of its human narrative ("Kids asleep in the backseat") which connects with that world weariness and sadness they deploy elsewhere.

Certainly Thursday ("I want to know if you're going to stay for the weekend") traverses more familiar emotional and musical territory as the desperate clubber looks for love beneath the mirrorball, but it does it with such confidence -- and guest rapper Example who is a perfect fit -- that you have to admire it, albeit with an arched eyebrow.

So three decades into their career they have remained true to their template, brought in other elements and put their heads back on the danceflor, although kept their hearts well protected behind that veil of emotional distance which they have brought as observers.

You'll either reject the shock of the familiar or embrace it wholeheartedly.

If the latter, play it at high volume. Works a treat!

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