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  • Rob

NOW PLAYING: 'NONETHELESS' BY PET SHOP BOYS...

This is the first album from Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant that has sounded like 'my' Pet Shop Boys for years.  There is no experimentation, no navel-gazing, just 44 minutes of beautifully produced pop music.  It isn't an exaggeration to say this is possibly their best album in decades.


The first single, 'Loneliness,' is close to their 80s peak; it's definitely up there with my favourite early 90s singles.  The second release, 'Dancing Star,' is a fantastic biographical track about Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev that harks back to the singles from 'Actually' and 'Please'.


'A New Bohemia' is the latest single, but I can't get my head around it yet.  It's a strange one for me.  How often does PSB release big, string-filled ballads?  I'll give it a chance.  


'New London Boy' is a track about growing up listening to Glam Rock and has a pleasing 'West End Girls' rap in the middle of it, reinforcing the feeling of nostalgia and a return to 'my' Pet Shop Boys.


One of the oddities on the record is 'The Schlager Hit Parade', which is a bit of a head-scratcher.  It sounds like a song released for an international football team heading to a big tournament.  Maybe it is the vocal effect making it sound like it is being sung by a team and the upbeat, optimistic feel to the track.


Near the album's end are my two favourite tracks;' The Secret Of Happiness' and 'Bullet For Narcissus'.  'The Secret Of Happiness' is a slice of bossanova-driven greatness.  It is a lush, cinematic, easy-listening track full of strings and horns. 


Just as I was getting blissed out, 'Bullet For Narcissus' came dancing in, all Daft Punk meets New Order, firing off lyrics at the protagonist - whoever it is...there are clues, though: "This Narcissus, his power is his dream/His politics are simply mean."


I've listened to the album several times, and I stand by my earlier statement: This is possibly the best Pet Shop Boys album in decades.  It sounds like it is made from reconstructed demos lost in the late 1980s.  It is a brand-new, classic PSB record.


Fancy a copy?  It is available on traditional vinyl from the official store for about £28, on clear vinyl from Amazon for about £32, on grey vinyl from HMV for about £32 or on this deluxe edition with a bonus 12" on white vinyl for around £37.


Tracks To Try: ‘Loneliness’, ‘New London Boy’, ‘Dancing Star’, ’The Secret Of Happiness’, ‘Bullet For Narcissus’

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