Tag Archives: Pet Shop Boys

10 Records in 10 Days: Day Seven

17 Feb

Welcome back to 10 Records in 10 Days. A Facebook chain-turned 10 day blog series. The concept is simple. ”Post an album a day covering your 10 all time favourite albums. What really made an impact and is still on your rotation list, even if only now and then? Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same”.

We’ve been nominated but rather than post without explanation, we thought it would be more fun to provide a little context. That is just the first of the rules we plan to break in this series. We are also not nominating anyone else (if you want to join in, you are more than welcome to do so) and we are also not adhering to any of the other implied rules either.

For the purpose of this series, we’ll be posting in the first person.

Day seven takes me back to my primary school years and the first proper album I can remember owning.


Pet Shop Boys – Introspective

I was 10 years old when Introspective was released. At the same time, my listening was dominated by whatever was in the charts, including a lot of very, very cheesy pop (Glenn Medeiros anyone?). Given their success previously, listening to the charts should have exposed me to the Pet Shop Boys but instead it was thanks to a girl at my primary school that I heard them.

The combination of brightly coloured cover and her continual excitement about the music resulted in me borrowing her tape and then buying my own copy. I’m pretty sure this is where my enduring love of synth-pop first began.

Introspective was only six songs long, but the songs and arrangements were incredible. I didn’t appreciate at the time that these were 12” mixes and that the use of orchestration was fairly unusual, I just thought the pop songs and sounds were absolutely amazing. From the very start it was clear this was no “I Should Be So Lucky”. “Left To My Own Devices” begins like some strange hybrid scandinavian opera / Bond theme before breaking down into the most infectious and danceable pop tune around. Immediately the tone was set as Neil and Chris took me into their world.

I felt like I was in some mysterious and special world. I was 10, I had little knowledge of the world around me or how popular the Pet Shop Boys actually were. All I knew was that only a couple of people in my school knew who they were so that immediately made them cool. This feeling was only magnified when I saw Patsy Kensit and Eighth Wonder playing “I’m Not Scared: on Top of the Pops. The notion of cover versions was alien to me and, having heard the Pet Shop Boys version beforehand, I felt like I was in on some great secret that no one else knew.

At 10 years old, there were an awful lot of lyrical references that went way over my head, but I still knew the words, still sang along and still wanted to play the album again and again. The melodies and hooks were something else entirely and I have been a fan ever since.

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Listen: Fear Of Tigers Remix Ronika

26 Sep

It’s no secret that here at Alphabet Bands, we love Ronika and her 80’s electro-disco-pop sound. We also love extended Pet Shop Boys-esque remixes and that is exactly what Fear Of Tigers have come up with for Ronnie’s latest track, “Only Only”. It’s totally mega and you can stream it, right here.

Oh boy, this is good – Delphic Review

11 Jan

Today I was going to write about Ellie Goulding. I spent much of the weekend listening to what limited tracks of hers are available in various locations online. I was going to write about Ellie Goulding but then I started to listen to Acolyte, the debut album by Delphic.

Naturally I reserve the right to change my mind at a later date (it has only been out a few hours after all so I’m only on my second listen as I write) but holy fuck I love it.

When I finally get round to writing about Them Crooked Vultures (I’m putting it off to be honest) I will no doubt talk about the impenetrable, self-indulgence of some of their tracks that ramble on for six mins plus for no discernable reason. The title track of the Delphic album, Acolyte, is just shy of nine minutes, Red Lights and Counterpoint both clock in at just over six each. Give a shit, they’re great. No self-indulgence here.

Now it may be that Acolyte is nothing more than the perfect antidote to a cold, tired Monday morning but this feels like life affirming stuff. Shamelessly upbeat and energetic I am actually feeling more positive and ready for the day ahead as a result of listening. This is what music is all about; it should penetrate your soul and affect or reflect your mood. I’m writing this on the train to London and I can honestly say that the two hours, undisturbed, that I am getting to listen to this is making the journey entirely worthwhile. Ok, enough script-based fellatio for the time being, you want to know about the album itself.

I haven’t seen the video to Counterpoint yet but I imagine it’s nothing more than a guy walking through the streets of London with a huge fucking grin on his face. I imagine this because it’s exactly what I want to be doing when I hear the track. Headphones in, coat pulled in tight against the cold, late night walk around London, snow falling gently around me with the lights and sounds spilling out onto the streets from various pubs, ending up meeting a group of friends for a drink in a warm and friendly hostelry with an awesome jukebox “Someone tell me nothing’s wrong today” – Seriously, nothing is.

Counterpoint comes towards the end of the album and it almost feels like the whole thing is building to this track. This is, in a way, supported by the fact that it is followed by Ephemera; a short, soft melodic come down of a track, providing time and space in which to breathe again before the gentle pick me up of Remain (think Discovery era Daft Punk) which is a relatively gentle but gorgeous song with soft vocals that caress you as you listen. Jesus, could I be any more in love with this album?

Quick aside, I just watched the video to Counterpoint, I was almost right! More fields and less smiling than I imagined, but still, there’s a fair bit of walking.

Anyway, back to it. This is an album that feels ultra modern yet deliciously retro at the same time. Melodic, full of pinpoint accurate electronic attacks on your senses blended with smooth synth-harmonies, Acolyte reaches back into the 80’s and channels the high points of both New Order and the Pet Shop Boys with some of U2’s anthemic pop thrown in for good measure. Yet I can’t quite pull away from that Daft Punk comparison either. Not entirely for the way the music sounds, (though they both blend electro dance and guitar based indie superbly. Don’t believe me about Daft Punk? Go listen to Robot Rock again.) more the way it makes you feel. Just like with the French duo’s second live album, Alive 2007, I can’t really stop my foot from tapping, my head from nodding and my finger from hitting repeat.

From the short, sharp intro of Clarion Call straight into the stunning Doubt and on to the seemingly West Wing inspired Red Lights (“I wouldn’t stop for red lights, I wouldn’t come up for air” echoes Donna telling Josh that if he was in an accident she wouldn’t stop for traffic lights. Yeah I’m a geek, what of it?), on through Acolyte, Halcyon, Submission and all the way up to the euphoric high of Counterpoint before the gentle come down as described above, this is an album that not only works as a collection of individual tracks but as an holistic entity in its own right. Even the remixes tacked on as extras are good, if a little too house for my usual taste.

This Momentary was the second single Delphic released last year and in it they call out “Let’s do something real” with Acolyte, this Manchester trio have done just that.

I may come back to this and revise my initial eulogy of just how damn good this is but as of now, don’t bother with Spotify, if you like any kind of dance music, go and buy it.

***UPDATE***

Don’t worry it’s still all good.

As I was listening to Acolyte for the second time yesterday, a thought started to permeate my subconscious. It became stronger during the third listen but I thought maybe it was just me. Then I saw that the lovely people at Gigwise had the same thought so I decided to share it.

There’s a real resonance with Bloc Party here. The vocals throughout Acolyte are quite reminiscent of Kele Okereke’s and as I started to think about it, it could almost be a companion piece to A Weekend In The City. Now obviously it’s not as explicitly about a weekend out and about but there is that kind of feeling about the whole thing. I touched on it above with everything building to a crescendo with Counterpoint and I now see a group of friends out clubbing and making their way home euphoric and shattered on the night bus. A nice night bus of course, not one with that drunk girl flopping about all over the seats, the guy near the back who looks like he’s either going to flash you or stab you and the tramp at the front who is the only one not to notice he’s pissed himself.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share that final thought, and it will be a final thought now. I’ve already bored everyone on twitter half to death by going on about Delphic. I’ll stop now. Back to Ellie Goulding, tomorrow maybe.