Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys don't attempt to redefine pop music on their Stuart Price-produced 13th full-length studio album, Super. Instead, the "West End Girls" singer-songwriters' latest recalls the hands-in-the-air energy of 1993's Very and the bygone era of London clubbing that came with it.
2013's Electric already proved that the duo and Stuart Price are a match made in music production heaven, but that's not to say the new album is sonically similar to the previous full-length. Where Electric presents a slick and shiny chrome-finished futuristic sound, Super offers a nostalgic glimpse into London's club scene in the 1990s: it's vintage Pet Shop Boys.
Lead single "The Pop Kids" is reminiscent of the outfit's 1990 single "Being Boring." It tells the familiar fairy tale of two college friends hitting the club together, who "loved the pop hits and quoted the best bits."
"Inner Sanctum," which was also released in advance of the album as a single, similarly evokes the club scene the Pet Shop Boys soundtracked decades ago. The hard-hitting techno track was made to be played in a cavernous ballroom-turned-club, or on a huge main stage at a festival tour stop.
Super finds Lowe and Tennant deftly navigating not only nostalgic throwback tracks but also forward-thinking, genre-bending dance floor-ready synth-heavy music in general.
The duo smoothly transition between various electronic sub-genres throughout the album. Their range extends from the Kraftwerk-inspired "Sad Robot World" to the seapunk-infused, almost tropical house track "Say It To Me," to the absolute banger "Burn."
While Super proves that the Pet Shop Boys can still party like it's 1993, the new album is less a return to form and more of a celebration of their 30-year-reign as ruling wizards of the synth-pop universe.
Give the full album a listen via the outfit's Youtube, below.