Release Date: Mar 14, 2011
Record label: Astralwerks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Stage & Screen, Punk/New Wave, Synth Pop, Cast Recordings, Musical Theater
Whenever a Pet Shop Boys album has more than one word in its title, they are combining their music with another medium. Closer to Heaven was their stab at music theater and Battleship Potemkin was obviously an accompaniment to the Russian classic silent film. Now, with The Most Incredible Thing, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have turned to scoring a ballet based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the same name.
The Most Incredible Thing is the Pet Shop Boys' first foray into the world of ballet scoring, and it’s as slick and smart as expected. Composed for London’s Sadlers Wells Theater adaptation of a late-period Hans Christian Andersen story, this must be a welcome souvenir for audience members, but those not in attendance will find the two-disc set a bit much, and with so many story-driven twists and audio cues, it’s too demanding for background listening. That said, any fans who found the duo’s Battleship Potemkin soundtrack compelling will find this a welcome, lighter alternative, seeing as how the sound is another mashing of Russian classical music and synth pop, with Tchaikovsky being the composer of influence here.
Tennant and Lowe’s ballet score is full of wonderful moments. Tom Hocknell 2011 Looking over the bands featured on pop compilation Now 8, released back in 1986, one could never see an act like Cutting Crew writing a ballet score. But would anyone have predicted that the Pet Shop Boys, rubbing shoulders on the same release, would be doing just that some 25 years on? These days it’s hard to imagine pop music without the duo's presence.