The Pet Shop Boys are the undisputed Kings of Pop. But there is so much more to them than that.
Famed for their electronic, full blown, over-produced stuff that still get stadia audiences on their feet almost four decades on, Neil Tennant as a singer is under-rated.
When the PSBs first started out they struggled as live performers but as the years went on Neil found his voice, and what a unique voice it is.
Neil and Chris Lowe are growing old gracefully (they’ll have us believe) but they are still on the road and loving it (although you’re never quite sure with Chris!)
They’ve been around since Adam was a lad and they’ve built up a huge back catalogue.
Now they are in the process of re-releasing some of their earlier albums, adding a generous sprinkling of previously unreleased material.
Pop fans will be aware of the PSB pop classics but delve a little deeper into their back catalogue and you’ll find some surprising gems.
One of the latest re-mastered re-released albums is Release with tracks from 2001-2004.
At that time it shocked PSB boys fans for being decidedly un-Pet Shop Boys. It was described as the Pet Shop Boys’ “acoustic album”, which annoyed the hell out of Neil.
It was certainly the most under-produced PSB album and is well worth exploring.
One of the unheard tracks with Release is ‘Alone Again, Naturally’ featuring Elton John.
This version of a poignant Gilbert O’Sullivan song shows Neil’s vocals to best effect.
It’s a brilliant, refreshing PSB song. While it’s not typical PSB, it actually is – because it’s typical PSB to be untypical.
That’s the endearing conundrum of the Pet Shop Boys.
Three albums have just been re-released. If you want so-called “typical” go for Nightlife or Fundamental. But for me it’s Release.
In all, the Pet Shop Boys plan re-issues of their first 11 studio albums, called Catalogue: 1985-2012.