Pet Shop Boys - Most Incredible Thing
There's a lot of latitude awarded to musicians who have sold millions of records. They get to dabble with projects of love that most struggling bands just can't afford to take the time to do. Some squander that opportunity (Spiderman musicals anyone?), others, like the Pet Shop Boys, make the most of it.
In the case of multi-million-selling dance outfit Pet Shop Boys, they have decided to use their artistic freedom to write the score to a ballet. The accompanying album, The Most Incredible Thing, comes out on March 22nd. The piece is based on the Hans Christian Anderson story of the same name.
This isn't your grandmother's ballet however. Hearing the electronic techno beats sidling alongside the traditional strings and brass orchestration won't surprise Pet Shop Boy fans, but it does make it a less-than-traditional ballet composition (which also includes a handful of vocal clips). In fact, it enhances the experience, providing extra layers of intrigue that don't exist with most classical music.
The duo has definitely poured their hearts into the work. It flows masterfully, telling the story without the need for the visuals. These mood ranges from ominous to whimsical to triumphant to elegant, always maintaining a dramatic tension.
As a stand alone piece, The Most Incredible Thing can be a bit of an onerous listen. Due to its length (nearly 2 hours), and without the visual accompaniment, you probably don't want to sit down and listen to it from front to back. The real appeal here lies in the fact that you can pop in and out and find something to soothe you at almost any point. For that reason it makes it a nice soundtrack for those chores around the house.
A full production is running in London as we speak. It will be interesting to see if and how they manage to take it on the road.
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