Tennant/Lowe The Most Incredible Thing
There’s nothing wrong with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe writing the music for a ballet based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. But there’s a context problem with the double-disc soundtrack to The Most Incredible Thing. For starters, even though it’s officially a Tennant/Lowe release, those two names are inextricably linked to the seminal, hyper-catchy electro-pop that they’ve made over the past three decades as the Pet Shop Boys. So while there are some synth surges and gay-disco thumps over the course of this predominantly instrumental 82-minute orchestral score—including a snippet of the guys performing “Baby,” originally written for Swedish pop outfit Alcazar—it doesn’t really line up with what’s expected of Tennant and Lowe. (Except for those who believe the duo peaked with its soundtrack to Battleship Potemkin.) Even more problematic is that the music, while ambitious and appropriately dramatic, hardly approaches standalone greatness. The Most Incredible Thing needs Javier De Frutos’ choreography to do justice to the story. That requires a trip to Sadler’s Wells or a DVD version (which is presumably in the works) in order to get the visuals that this soundtrack so desperately demands.