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Pet Shop Boys a tempest of talent
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Pet Shop Boys a tempest of talent

by Andrew Hamlin - SGN Contributing Writer

Pet Shop Boys
Yes


This record grew on me. Not like moss or Tinea cruris - hopefully, at least (I still don't know it that well) - but like a crystal, let's say. I found it some of the weakest tea in 2009 the first time out. Then it underwhelmed me the second time except for that last song, "Legacy," with its repeated litany of "you'll get over it." I liked the way Neil Tennant pronounced "glass-ee-ehrs" and besides, "you'll get over it" is what my nicer friends said about my ongoing tragicomedy-cum-romantic life (last lick before the commercial break: "You're too ugly to date."). The not-so-nicer friends, of course, just said, "Oh, get over it."

Further listenings, though, impressed me with the Pet Shop power to absorb everything into their own world, and through such complete absorption, show us the spanning majesty of our own lives. Sort of like LEGOLAND (your choice of Denmark, England, Germany, or California): looking at Mount Rushmore, or a Norwegian fishing village, all built out of little plastic blocks, leads you to rethink and hopefully revere the originals. The Boys' LEGO emotions come filtered through Neil Tennant's pinched sighing and sounds neatly cut 'n' pasted from a sonic paper doll palette. Exotic plastic guitar filigree follows Neil's every line on "Vulnerable." Synthetic sax lines lead the charge through "Pandemonium" - though because this is the Pet Shop Boys, "pandemonium" consists of Neil's quiet awe at his object of desire's & just plain being there, really, once you sort it all out.

And maybe that's enough. The Pet Shop boys will not explode outward; you must venture down their tube. The onboard work computer on which I'm playing the disc seems convinced by its playlist, that this is a collection of the Pet Shop Boys' greatest hits or at least biggest sellers: "Legacy" is "really" "Why Don't We Live Together?", "All Over The World" comes home to become "West End Girls," on and on. And I admit how it's sometimes difficult to tell Pet Shop Boys albums apart. The best thing to do now is just pretend you've never heard anything except this.

And "Legacy" still marks a LEGOmajestic end to the tour. I imagine Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe's heads very large, the size of apartment buildings, whispering these crucial words of encouragement. Whispering, because their target audience is only confused-human size and might easily blow over and break bones. Then ever so gradually the urgency rises and a tempest sets in. One notices, flipping through the lyric sheet, how old they've grown. Maybe they worry they won't have a second chance on the impressionable. Maybe they're right. The answer is plosiving in the wind.

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