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CD review: Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Electric’

Pet Shop Boys

Electric (X2)

This has been the year for second (and third) acts in the U.K., as heard on album triumphs by David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine and Suede. Pet Shop Boys join that parade of comebacks with their 12th studio album, Electric, a career high-point and a record for anyone tired of or bored by current dance music trends. Partnering up with Killers producer Stuart Price, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe summon both the late ’70s and the early ’90s in an updated, tuneful and exhilarating disco-rave set. It’s also curiously inspired: The Boys take cues from 17th-century composer Henry Purcell’s King Arthur opera (“Love is a Bourgeois Construct,” which sounds like synth composer Wendy Carlos remixing PSB’s iconic “Go West” cover), and covers one of the few Bruce Springsteen nuggets from the aughts (“Last To Die,” rendered with a different political purpose this time around). They even have a guest rapper, Example, on the dynamic, reference-rich “Thursday.” Just as dance music has become as predictable as a $15 vodka Red Bull, here come two 30-year-veterans to show the color-by-numbers EDM set how it’s done.