Mon. May 20th, 2024

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Album Review: Pet Shop Boys – Nonetheless

2 min read
Album Review: Pet Shop Boys - Nonetheless

UK synth-pop royalty, the Pet Shop Boys (or to the fans, PSB), have released their fifteenth album Nonetheless through the band’s own label x2 and Parlophone.  The 10 tracks are designed to celebrate the diverse emotions that make us all human, with Arctic Monkeys producer James Ford pushing the band, by daring them to keep the musical arrangements more minimal than bandmates Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are used to these days.

Starting the album with the first single release, Loneliness is synth-pop at its finest – catchy synths and beat, well placed horns and Neil’s magical voice.  Following on is Feel, giving us five minutes of Kraftwerk-esque 1980’s synth sounds and arrangements, and Why Am I Dancing? – My absolute favourite of the album… great lyrics, melodic synths leaving with you feeling of euphoria and sadness at the same time… outstanding!  Next up is the slower tempo New London Boy, which feels almost as a homage to West End Girls both in its style and lyrical content, with a mildly melancholic tone, and then we have second single release, Dancing Star, which starts with an abrupt “Amalfi” and continues to be as if Domino Dancing had an extension track in the 1980’s that PSB just forgot to release… which is quite the compliment!

A melody of synth chords greats you in A New Bohemia, a second down tempo track, which strikes a perfect balance between PSB synth-pop and poignant lyrics, whilst The Schlager Hit Parade is the first track I didn’t feel anything for – it’s a bit 1990s euro pop in its arrangement, and the lyrics weren’t going to stick in my memory banks for long.  A real sense of Burt Bacharach fills The Secret of Happiness where 1960s lounge music and bossa nova beats make a successful appearance.  Penultimate track Bullet for Narcissus is a real foot stomper, with grade ‘A’ synth-pop and razor sharp lyrics that remind me of one of New Order’s finest, whilst Love Is the Law rounds off proceedings, with a slower, more mature/modern synth – with Neil’s lyrics are sad, yet optimistic, giving this a feeling of a new-age dark ballad.  Moreover, the orchestral break towards the conclusion of the song is masterfully placed!

What can I say – Nonetheless is unmistakably Pet Shop Boys.  However, this is not an album of ten identical tracks – there is a mix of modernity and nostalgia woven throughout the album, which is melancholy but inspiring, mature yet youthful, synthetic instrumentation and live orchestral arrangements.  If you’re a Pet Shop Boys hater then this album is not for you, but then this artist will never be for you, their unmistakable musical print runs through every track they’ve recorded, but if you are a PSB lover, or even a neutral, I’d advise you to have a listen – it doesn’t disappoint!