They may now be regarded as the elder statesmen of British pop but the Pet Shop Boys are still outsiders. Nicola Meighan concurs

greatest deadpan front-man. Neil Tennant. a

propos the Pet Shop Boys‘ recent ()utstanding Contribution to Music Brit Award. ’I thought it was nice of the industry to give it to us.‘ he concurs with a shrug. But what‘s truly startling about the electro-pop duo joining the ranks of Queen. David Bowie and ['2 is that it didn't happen sooner.

Pet Shop Boys have embodied and accelerated l7K pop culture for 25 years. It's a feat that‘s seen them shift 50 million albums; reap 3‘) top 4() singles: glorify Dusty Springfield (‘What Have I Done to Deserve 'fhis'."); outshine lilvis (‘Always ()n My Mind'); and even cast Gandalf (well. Ian McKellen) as a vampire in the video for cardiac disco brouhaha. 'Heart‘. They’ve written hits for Girls Aloud. Robbie Williams and Li/a Minnelli: galvanised Madonna. Lady Gaga and The Killers. Little wonder David Tennant picked his equity surname in homage to Neil.

The dancefloor colonists remain insatiable: this. their tenth studio album is a euphoric synthesis of the banal and cerebral: of music and art. Celebrity fetishism (“Love Iitc') and image neuroses (‘Beautiful People) dice with American politics (“More Than a Dream‘) and confined ideologies (‘Building a Wall‘ ).

Their lyrics. too. remain diametric: ‘it's sincere and subjective/superficial and true.‘ Tennant intones on 'All Over the World‘ a universal. acid-brass anthem that merges romantic classicism (Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker). with classic PSB (the ‘uh-way-uh-way' strains of ‘Domino Dancing~ ). It’s a vocalisation that underscores the duo's jocular cultural dogma. ‘Yeah. I

l was quite surprised. really.” remarks pop‘s

like putting words like "subjective" into a pop song.‘ Tennant agrees. ‘Sometimes it sounds a bit intellectual. a little bit sociological. and I like that against this kind of pop milsic.‘

Titular brevity has long been an emblem in the I’SBs‘ pop idiom. from debut album designate l’lt'uw (MSG) through to l'iiiit/(uiu'iilu/ (Zoom. .\'o surprise then when they go and call their album something like Yes. “It‘s called Yes hecatise. erm . . .' 'l‘ennant falters. ‘Well. it‘s one of our jokey titles. like. “have

you got the Pet Shop Boys' Please?” he quips. ‘So if

you go in and ask for this one. you could say. "the Pet Shop Boys‘ its.” lle skips a beat and smiles weakly. 'lt‘s pathetic really.

‘Also. it sounds like a pop word.’ he warms to his theme. ‘And it comes from that Yoko Ono exhibition. where John Lennon walks up the stepladder. gets the

magnifying glass and reads the piece of paper

hanging there and it says. “Yes"... I've always been slightly impressed by that.'

‘()ur natural instinct would be for it to say ”no".' interjects his insouciant counterpart (‘hris Lowe. to laughter. Pet Shop Boys have long cast themselves as part comedic double-act. with synth-virttIoso Lowe providing robotic foil to Tennant‘s stately cltoristcr. It‘s a union that‘s prevailed for decades. and isn't set to waver as a new album. upcoming T in the Park headline show and impending ballet will attest. Another 25 years from PSB'.’ Yes. Please.

Yes is out Mon 23 Mar. See page 65 for our review.



* Dirty Projectors and Polar Bear Fronted by multi- talented Dave Longstreth, it's experimental. think outside the box electronica. supported by Brit punk iazzers. PB. Arches. Glasgow. Sun 29 Mar. (Rock 8 Pop. Jazz)

>l< lnstal Open your ears and mind. at this annual celebration ot avant-garde sounds. See prevrew, page 62. Arches. Glasgow, Fri 20—Sun 22 Mar. (Rock 8 Pop)

* Tunng and 'l'lnarlwen Folky electronica meets African desert blues. no doubt with some eerie, very beautiful results. HMV Picture House. Edinburgh, Sat 27 Mar. (Folk) * Metalllca It's a sell-out for Lars and co. after recent album Death Magnetic proved they still know how to raaawk. SECC, Glasgow, 26 Mar. (Rock 8 Pop)

>l< Vashtl Bunyan Edinburgh's influential songstress could teach those freak—folk kids a thing or two. Here she makes a rare appearance as part of Oxjam. The Bowery, Edinburgh, Fri 27 Mar. (Rock 8 Pop, Folk)

* Glasgow Implode: A day of alt.noise that your granny probably won‘t love. See preview, page 63. 13th Note, Glasgow, Sat 28 Mar. (Rock 8 Pop)

* Dent May and his Magnificent Ukelele Nerdy, lovable barber-shop pop, the week after the Mississippi boy’s performance at SXSW.

Captain '3 Rest, Glasgow, Sun 29 Mar. (Rock 8 Pop)

* David Byrne Revisit the Talking Heads man's celebrated collaborations with Brian Eno. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Tue 31 Mar. (Flock 8 P00)

* 19903 A homecoming gig for the Glasgow trio, who’ve been touring album two, Kicks. See album review, page 64. School of Art, Glasgow, Tue 31 Mar. (Flock 8 Pop)

"3 '.'.i:'*{ ’11; 2'; X: THE LIST 61