Electronic – Electronic

Previously released on heavyweight vinyl in 2015, Rhino’s new pressing is oddly timed: Electronic turns 30 next year. It also downgrades the album to regular vinyl, though at £17 it’s at least much cheaper, too – including for a limited white vinyl pressing. The other difference is, for some reason, substituting the sleeve’s original orange landscape for the black one first introduced in 1994.

Packaging details aside, Electronic is as magnificent now as it was in 2015 and 1991. Freed from The Smiths, Johnny Marr wanted to explore other worlds, Bernard Sumner famously having to persuade his new colleague to play more guitar. When Marr does, even by his standards, the results are extraordinary. The 90s never produced a better pop song than Get The Message. Debut standalone single Getting Away With It is still sadly  absent, but Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant is back on the equally defiant The Patience Of A Saint. Sumner brought that album’s huge primary-colour production, with Marr adding the melancholy. Some Distant Memory starts as euphoric Chicago house, before ending on devastating minor-key keyboards. It’s a journey many songs take. Sure, Sumner’s rapping has dated, but that misses the point: rather than messing about, Electronic is two hugely talented friends figuring out how to be brilliant all over again. At nearly every turn, they succeeded.


John Earls