Studio Album by released in 2012
Elysium's tracklist:
Your Early Stuff
A Face Like That
Breathing Space
Ego Music
Hold On
Give It A Go
Memory Of The Future
Everything Means Something
Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin
Leaving (Instrumental)
Invisible (Instrumental)
Winner (Instrumental)
Your Early Stuff (Instrumental)
A Face Like That (Instrumental)
Breathing Space (Instrumental)
Ego Music (Instrumental)
Hold On (Instrumental)
Give It A Go (Instrumental)
Memory Of The Future (Instrumental)
Everything Means Something (Instrumental)
Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin (Instrumental)

Elysium review

Pet Shop Boys: a band and a whole genre

In thirty years spent on stage the Englishmen Pet Shop Boys have many times proven that genre boundaries are a relative term. Synths and dance rhythms are materials that the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe use to construct most varied musical structure which, truth be told, gave as varied results. Successful albums on more than one or two occasions were followed by doubtful offers, but the Brits kept bringing something new, reluctant to repeat their most rewarding actions. Sometimes, like in case with the conceptual Behaviour (1990) or acoustic Release (2002), experimental path took the duo too far, but it was still the music with the easily recognizable Pet Shop Boys seal on it. However, no more rushing from one extreme to another has been noticed. The latest albums are not so full of surprising discoveries, and the musicians, being not this young anymore, spend less time in the studio, putting active touring before difficult creative researching. Hence the eleventh Pet Shop Boys album, released in the autumn of 2012, is some kind of a generalized version of their musical style that has been shaped throughout the long years of the popular duo’s existence.

A world of eternal spring and amazing music

Elysium is a kingdom of eternal spring, a good part of the afterlife world as ancient Greeks saw it. It turns out Pet Shop Boys are into mythology now, since they called the new record Elysium. The album was crafted in California, for the first time in the English duo’s history, and it was produced by Andrew Dawson, who worked with Kanye West. The synths sound so light and airy that they do create an atmosphere of spring, tranquility and peace. At the same time low-key dominant melodies leave a sensation of barely tangible grief, which became a trademark for Pet Shop Boys long ago. The elevated and simultaneously deep character of the messages is provided by Tennant’s well-known vocals. However, his voice has more clearly displayed a certain degree of melancholy and soul-searching. Elysium is almost devoid the delicate humor that was usually generously added to the duo’s lyrics/ It feels like the Englishmen decided to make the most serious album in their discography as if to remind the audience that they have reached the age when it is hard to get rid of heavy thoughts. It stands for a reason why, as early as under number two, is the gorgeous ballad Invisible that tune listeners on a philosophical wave.

In a word: it is great!

Elysium could be characterized by just one word: this album is well-balanced. Having seen and tried everything in their musical life, Pet Shop Boys have each track a perfect tempo, scattered slow songs across the set and afforded as many deviations from their traditional style as it was necessary to make the record interesting and varied. Experiment do not interfere with their general sounding, but merge with it, like in Breathing Space, a song that unnoticeably absorbed futuristic acoustics of ambient. So, right until the end of the album, among just fine tracks there will be true, yet different, highlights, including dance single Winner, atmospheric Hold On with the main theme borrowed from George Handel, or the closing Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin made to remind classic works of Pet Shop Boys. And this is how the conclusion comes that no genre definitions should be given to Elysium, because what matters most is the level of recording and delivery of this material, the top quality and complex nature of the music which made Pet Shop Boys what they are.

Alex Bartholomew (17.09.2012)
Rate review2.93
Total votes - 15

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