Album reviews: Pet Shop Boys | David Lynch

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NEIL Tennant and Chris Lowe, aka Pet Shop Boys, aim to keep the buzz going with their 12th album, as filmmaker David Lynch releases his second album.

PET SHOP BOYS - ELECTRIC * * * * *

IT’S been less than a year since London-based duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe released their last album, Elysium, where the reflective feel seemingly hinted things might be winding down for the synth duo. But in March 2013, the pair ended their 28-year relationship with record label Parlophone, and entered into a new arrangement with Kobalt Label Services for Electric, their 12th studio album, which is also the band’s first release on their own music label x2.

They’ve kicked off the slippers, left the house and hit the dancefloor. Produced by Stuart Price, this collection references the sounds that have inspired them over the years from Bobby Orlando (Bobby O) to acid house with a classical sample by Michael Nyman thrown in for good measure.

From the exhilarating grind of opening track Axis to the closing rave-up of Vocal, Electric fizzes with bounce and energy with that characteristic bite of Neil’s lyrics. A fantastic return to form.

DAVID LYNCH - THE BIG DREAM * * * *

HOLLYWOOD director David Lynch took a lot of people by surprise when he released debut solo album Crazy Clown Time in 2011, but in fact, he was on the periphery of the music scene already, writing songs for Julee Cruise and collaborating with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse.

While Clown Time was a bit too avant-garde for many, The Big Dream is a mite more accessible. Dark, disturbing and consistently rewarding, the album is Lynch’s take on the blues - delivered in an effects-laden, moody electro style. Among the highlights are the album’s only cover, Bob Dylan’s The Ballad Of Hollis Brown, and lead single I’m Waiting Here, featuring Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li.

Li’s turn shows up Lynch’s only weakness here: he’s no singer by any traditional meaning of the word, but he covers his vocals well enough under heaps of effects.