Album: Pet Shop Boys, Elysium (Parlophone)

 

Elysium is bookended by two of the best songs the Pet Shop Boys have written in years, but flags badly in between.

"Leaving", a warmly engaging reflection on how relationships leave permanent marks, opens proceedings with a gentle momentum that quickly dissipates in a series of songs about waning celebrity potency ("Invisible", "Breathing Space", "Your Early Stuff"), and brittle satires on celebrity culture in general. "Hold On" is the worst, a bogus anthem for universal love and harmony drowning in irony (one hopes). The insipid Olympic-themed trifle "Winner" can't help but appear lazily exploitative, and respect is only salvaged by the closing "Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin", a fond paean to pop heritage riding a lovely, throbbing bassline. 

Download: Leaving; Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin

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