The consistently great Pet Shop Boys do what they do best; sad-eyed synth-pop with catchy hooks and potent melodies. Super is the duo’s first album since 2013’s Electric and is released on vinyl LP and CD on their own label. This record has a modern dance-pop sound, but the pair still have an ear for timeless songcraft and arrangements.
7/10 Mark Customer review, 4th April 2016
Let me say it early here I love PSB – really love them! However after Yes I thought that was it, apart from Love etc. It was a shocker (it did provide an amazing live show though). Elysium seemed like a bit of a sign-off low key and melancholic - then they released Electric; the best record they had made possibly since Introspective and definitely since Very. It was informed with all their experience of electronic dance music (NOT EDM) from House to Patrick Cowley to Bobby O even Kraftwerk. It was amazing and they seemed to have found their way back; it was my favourite album of 2013.
Which brings us to Super, and let’s get it clear from the off it’s no Electric, lead single The Pop Kids is a lovely Housey thing (though it does feature some of Neil Tennants worst lyrics in the 1st verse, they do get much better through the song) on a similar theme as Being Boring of looking back on fabulous times and loves but placing it in the early 90s club scene. So all good then?
Nope ‘friad not because where Super is clearly moulded from the same materials as Electric, and Stuart Price’s analogue synth collection, Electric sounds modern and in some ways atypically PSBs in terms of chord choices and arrangements whereas Super is almost a pastiche of PSB of musical tropes, almost like the Flight of Conchords – Inner City Pressure.
I like it, but it's only good not great, and think I like it partly because it’s comfortable and (too?) familiar, but it feels a bit tight, restrained and slight against the MDMA laser-blast fluorescent buzz of Electric.
It’s still more consistent that than anything since Very and is also (very) much a dance record (a good thing for me), it flies by at good rate of BPM, only one slow song on the whole thing, and is that correct length a pop album should be of about 40-45mins, but doesn't get to be as anywhere near as fulfilling as Electric.
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