Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys are reliable purveyors of quality disco-pop. Sweeping tunes, acerbic lyrics, snappy sense of style. Where I differ in taste with them is the art of the remix – this being their fourth album of remixes (though this time it’s mostly remixes of others, not their own material). It’d make a good pub debate – would you rather have more songs but short, or less but longer. I’m a fan of both styles but in the long form, I generally want to hear more musical development than I get in an extended mix, which is less about development than re-molding, cutting up and playing with.

Where it works well for the Pet Shop Boys, it is where strongly melodic and hook-laden tunes are brought to the chorus over and over to swoosh the beat along. For example, The Killers’ ‘Read My Mind’ becomes a sweeping dico anthem. Ditto for London wideboy, David Bowie, on ‘Hello Spaceboy’. Though, even here, some of the tuneage is lost in the desire to just make it longer. The Boys understandably fail with Yoko Ono, a case beyond hope. Spare disco four-to-the-floor beats are dull without regular blasts of big tune so Madonna’s ‘Sorry’ is patchy and Atomizer a bit dull. Rammstein are less demented than normal but still a fair laugh. The Pet Shop Boys round it up with a remix of a track off the last album.

The only truly new track, ‘Integral’ works over the theme of the erosions of personal liberty with the ideas of ID cards, etc. It’ll be interesting to see how this one performs as a single.

I’d choose any of the PSB’s regular albums over this set of remixes (or even their productions of Lisa Minelli or Dusty Springfield) and, unless you are (perhaps understandably) a completist, something more unified in feel as a dance album.

Ross McGibbon