For a couple of men in their fifties, Pet Shop Boys still make excellent pop music. And 30-plus years in the music business is big bickies, especially for a duo that consists of one guy who relies heavily on techno gimmickry to make tunes, the other having been more of a clever journo than genuine singer-songwriter.
Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant, collectively known as Pet Shop Boys (from the beginning they considered the ‘The’ redundant) always knew that with industry smarts, ambiguous lyrics and polished minimalist packaging, longevity and credibility could be achieved. It’s as though the opening track on the pair’s debut album Please, a song titled Two Divided by Zero, operated as a kind of mantra for PSB who are still dishing out albums today, sometimes on a biannual basis.
Now, a whole batch of previous releases are being reissued in a series labelled Catalogue: 1985-2012. This definitive collection features each album from PSB’s peerless discography on the Parlophone label, each remastered and accompanied by ‘Further listening’ albums of bonus tracks and never-before-heard demos (created in the same period as each album). And, with dance and pop being the main genres Pet Shop Boys dabble in, you can bet there’s a big batch of remixes of classic hits, too.
Of course, Pet Shop Boys are big on aesthetics, hence each album will be packaged with an extensive booklet in which Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe discuss each song, illustrated with archive photographs – the entire project designed by long-term PSB design collaborators, Farrow.
It’s all very exciting stuff for avid fans, and even if you’re not a truly passionate PSB follower, there are so many memorable musical moments in this catalogue, you’d be crazy not to give some of it a spin. Antonino Tati
Here’s the full list of reissued albums in the ‘Catalogue: 1985-2012’ collection, available from July 28:
Yes / Further Listening: 2008-2010
Elysium / Further Listening: 2011-2012
Please / Further Listening: 1984-1986
Actually / Further Listening: 1987-1988
Introspective / Further Listening: 1988-1989
Behaviour / Further Listening:1990-1991
Very / Further Listening:1992-1994
Bilingual / Further Listening: 1995-1997