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"Pet Shop Boys' work in the '80s has been an influence on Xenomania"
Posted at 11:22 PM, 15 March 2009 -

Last month, Music Week published an interview with Pet Shop Boys with a few quotes by Brian Higgins. He identifies "The Way It Used To Be" (one of the three Xenomania co-writes) as a personal favourite, citing Neil Tennant's vocal performance as a highlight, while giving credit to his lyrics in general.

«I'm a big admirer of theirs. Particularly, I guess, their earlier work in the Eighties has been an influence on Xenomania. I think Neil's lyrics define the decade in which they broke, in many ways. He is a fantastic commentator on our society and I was keen to get his take on the modern things, so I was gently pushing in that direction», says Higgins.

Miles Leonard from Parlophone believes that Brian Higgins «wanted to go back to what he felt was the direction the Pet Shop Boys had taken in the past, without being retrospective». «There was a real, concerted effort to try to go back to that approach», he adds.

Neil Tennant says that they decided to work with Xenomania because they thought, who better to produce «an amazing electro-pop album», «than an amazing electro-pop production team?». A phone call was followed by a lengthy discussion and an exchange of recent music. Brian Higgins was happy once the duo had agreed to co-write some additional songs and demonstrated that they were game for Xenomania's deconstructive production process.

«They allowed us to experiment, and experiment, and experiment with the various bits and pieces, and they were very objective about that,» says Higgins. «We want to push things as far as we can, and you have to be given the freedom to do that without people panicking, but they came in every day with a wonderful spirit.»

Music Week writes that there is «a sense that the Pet Shop Boys are too clever, too good and too engrained in the pop landscape to leave it at that». «That is how I sort of look at it,» says Brian Higgins. «It is very difficult to reclaim things in the music business – it's hard to do that. Certainly, they are a very successful touring group. But I think there's a sleeping giant there, and I hope that we can awaken it.»

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