WHEN Electronic put out debut single Getting Away With It in 1989 it was Big News.
Johnny Marr, only two years out of The Smiths, joining forces with Bernard Sumner, taking a break from New Order. And with both Pet Shop Boys in on the act too, it was every journalist’s dream.
The single measured up to expectations and then some, reaching the top 20 in the days when it was still a novelty to see an indie band on Top of The Pops.
Then, for nearly two years, nothing. The weight of expectation on 1991’s Get the Message was enormous. Again, it failed to disappoint. Both songs still sound like they could have been recorded last week and will doubtless be filling dancefloors and blasting out of radios in another 20 years.
When it finally appeared later in ‘91, the album was greeted warmly, being feted as one of the albums of a year which saw Nirvana, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine all release landmark long-players.
Twenty two years on, doubtless down to Johnny Marr’s recent success as a solo artist, Electronic is finally given the reissue it deserves. The double CD is beautifully packaged, with detailed and extensive liner notes and, sensibly, Getting Away with It added.
When it’s good, it’s really good. The Patience of a Saint benefits enormously from The Pet Shop Boys, in the midst of what Neil Tennant referred to as their Imperial Period. Opener Idiot Country is relentless and urgent and awash with Marr’s inimitable wah-wah guitar. The singles, obviously. As a whole, though, the album is a little hit and miss and of the tracks on the extra CD, only 1992’s Disappointed – with Tennant on lead vocals – could remotely be termed essential.