They’ve both made such a little go a very long way

Is there a more charming group out there than the Pet Shop Boys? It never ceases to amaze me how they’ve maintained the quality control across their career to date. I loved ‘Fundamental‘, the last album, and I’ve just watched ‘Cubism‘, the live DVD from the tour to promote it. The set is fantastic, the show is vibrant, bright and a wee-bit camp. The sound is great and the occasionally reworked numbers are always inspired.
I have to confess that a not inconsiderable part of me buys PSB DVDs for the commentaries. If you’ve not got the ‘PopArt’ DVD then it’s worth picking it up immediately. Listening to Neil and Chris grumbling their way through all of their hits is genuinely hilarious. They don’t feel obliged to say something’s good if it’s shit. In fact, they don’t even stop at shit, they bury the poor videos. Also worth a watch is the ‘A Life In Pop‘ documentary DVD. It’s a hugely extended version of what was shown on Channel 4 last year and features copious interview footage with both of them.
Another piece of PSB merchandise that no music fan should be without is the coffee-table dream, ‘Catalogue‘; a book collecting all of their artwork along with suitably scathing commentary from Neil and Chris. It’s a charming document of mainly excellent art – along with a few shit bits and bobs. Plus, it has a shiny dust jacket. Oooh, dust jacket’s a word you don’t hear as often as you should.
Musically, they’ve always been spot on and while I can’t deny that their Eighties records sound dated – they quite clearly do – when it comes to PSB, it seems oddly appropriate and is almost charming. Furthermore, I really like ‘Release‘, the ‘indie’ guitary album from five years back that features tracks like ‘Home & Dry‘ and the quite brilliant retort to Eminem, ‘The Night I Fell In Love‘. I’m not ashamed to say that I love their version of ‘Go West‘ and ‘West End Girls‘ remains one of the greatest pop songs of all time.
However, the track of theirs I love the most is ‘Yesterday, When I Was Mad‘. It’s chaotic from the off, irrepressibly jolly throughout and so perfectly worded I can’t ever imagine becoming tired of it. “Darling, you were wonderful, you really were quite good.” Ah, the perfectly placed ‘quite’. I’m smirking.

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