Pet Shop Boys
Released: 23rd March 2009.
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, the granddads of British pop otherwise known as the Pet Shop Boys are still here after 25 years, 50 million records sold worldwide, and most recently, a long overdue nod at the BRITs for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Back when their debut #1 "West End Girls" was released in 1984, many had written it off as a lightning bolt that wouldn't strike twice - illustrated when the follow up, "Love Comes Quickly" barely scraped the top 20. But those disbelievers may have to eat their hats now, as they ready the release of their 10th studio album, "Yes".
And, I'm pleased to say, as the fruit of a six month long labour (but a joyous one, we should add) with those other lynchpins of British pop - Brian Higgins and Xenomania, that this is possibly their best and most positive album since 1993's "Very". In fact, whilst the world is currently in the throes of an economic recession, perhaps this album has come along at just the right time. Opening on first single "Love Etc." the message seems to be one of needing to keep calm in times of uncertainty, and to remind yourself of what's really important.
In fact, if the assertion that the best pop songs are often love songs, then the duo certainly make a good job of doing them - on second track, "All Over The World", they proclaim that "this is a song for boys and girls...it's exciting and new to say I want you", whilst "Vulnerable" and "The Way It Used To Be" both focus on the hurt sometimes caused by lost love, be it yearning - "I'm so vulnerable without you" from the former - or bitter, such as the genius line from the latter of "Don't give me all your Northern pain...our promise was betrayed".
It echoes rather strongly of the Scandopop of divorce era ABBA and as you would expect, is absolutely dead on the mark. However, it's not all melancholia - new single "Did You See Me Coming?" with it's glorious guitar cameo from the Smiths' Johnny Marr is a soaring, feelgood treat and a highlight of this album, so too, is "More Than A Dream" which does rather remind the listener of "Left To My Own Devices" with it's tugging synth riffs and incessant driving beat. Overall, for a band that certainly have made an outstanding contribution to our charts and industry over the decades, "Yes" proves they'll be continuing to do so for a long time to come.