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Electro poppers trade dance floor throwdowns for understated experimentations

Pet Shop Boys - Elysium
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: October 19, 2012
Pet Shop Boys

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Anyone craving the next "It's A Sin," "Opportunities," "Go West" or "New York City Boy" won't find it on the Pet Shop Boys' eleventh studio album "Elysium." Instead, the current collection serves as an unofficial bookend of sorts to 2002's subdued "Release" given its understated electronic experimentations (which are co-produced by the pair and Kanye West collaborator Andrew Dawson).

Though this marks the group's first ever recording in Los Angeles, the project still boasts plenty of English appeal, while front man Neil Tennant's voice is in fine form and Chris Lowe's keyboards blend the best of yesterday and today. "Leaving" has no trouble getting the ambient vibe brewing, lead single "Winner" is a mid-tempo anthem in the making and "Face Like That" best resembles PSB's heyday without every sounding stale.

But the majority of "Elysium" takes the chilled out direction of the slowly marinating "Invisible" or the somber synth popper "Your Early Stuff," which might not sound like the group's many claims to fame, but nonetheless stand alone as intelligently constructed electronica. The acoustically framed "Breathing Space" and gentle swinger "Give It A Go" further suggest those wanting to dance will be disappointed, but anyone willing to give them a late night headphone listen are likely to be grooved and soothed.

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