In 1987, I heard a spooky little synth-pop ditty called "It's a Sin," performed by two guys who never smiled. I haven't looked back since. I'm a Pet Shop Boys fan, and no matter how uninspired their studio output gets (and it has), I will still buy it and at least try to enjoy it.
So I quite like Pandemonium, the first PSB live album to be released on these shores. It zips through an elegant selection of some of the Boys' best work, from their first single, "West End Girls," to their latest, "Did You See Me Coming." Along the way, they spin some of my favorites, like the lovely "King's Cross" and the dramatic "Left to My Own Devices." They merge "Domino Dancing" with a cover of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida." It's all clever and danceable stuff.
What's the problem? I'm just not sure how "live" this really is. I have yet to watch the accompanying DVD, but most of Pandemonium feels pre-programmed. Neil Tennant's wonderful voice even sounds looped and processed here and there. I'm sure it didn't matter to the audience at London's O2 last December, so I don't know why it matters to me so much. Pandemonium is like getting a swell remix of the Pet Shop Boys' best songs. But if you're looking for a real live album, I'm not sure this is it.