Pet Shop Boys’ 11th album is… well… just that. It’s Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe being unmistakably Pet Shop Boys, doing what they’ve always done.
Tennant is slyly aware of this it seems, going by tongue-in-cheek ‘Your Early Stuff’, a clever lyric let down by being wholly forgettable elsewhere.
There’s some fun stuff here, although it does feel a bit haphazard, particularly the ironically self-indulgent sounding ‘Ego Music’, a difficult racket to enjoy, perhaps somewhat deliberately.
‘Leaving’, the album’s opener is dreamy and imaginative; you can’t help feel an album structured more around this sort of sound might have produced something a bit more worthy of some repeated listening.
The real stand-out tracks on the album are ‘Winner’, an uplifting track that the BBC must be cursing wasn’t available in time for their Olympic montages and ‘Hold On’, an anthemic slow builder that is screaming out for a gospel choir at their live shows, which the entirety of this album would probably fit into quite nicely.
Elsewhere, there’s nothing much remarkable or ground-breaking but it’s by no means a bad listen.
It would be easy to say of Elysium that it breaks no new ground, it doesn’t really separate itself from anything else out there at the moment, until you remember that it’s Tennant and Lowe who are the original article and it’s only themselves they’re emulating.