Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
12:00 AM 11th May 2024

Albums: Pet Shop Boys – Nonetheless

Pet Shop Boys – Nonetheless

Loneliness; Feel; Why Am I Dancing?; New London Boy; Dancing Star; A New Bohemia; The Schlager Hit Parade; The Secret of Happiness; Bullet For Narcissus; Love is the Law

(PARLOPHONE) 5054197903540

Four years on from their last album release, Pet Shop Boys return in style, substance, and sophistication with Nonetheless. The older statemen of pop music easily show a younger generation what makes a good pop record.

Throughout the album, there is a ribbon of melancholy and reflection, with references to "when the streets of London sang with pop stars" on Dancing Stars—a track that celebrates the life and spirit of Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev—and namechecks for David Bowie and Roxy Music on New London Boy, making it seem like Pet Shop Boys miss the glamour and style that perpetrated pop music in the seventies and eighties with Glam Rock and the New Romantics, respectively.

Since they first reached Number One in 1985 with West End Girls, their sound has not significantly changed. Neil Tennant's distinctive and emotional vocals shine on the songs, while Chris Lowe provides the perfect soundtrack, rooted in the eighties but looking forward with influences from disco and house music in the mix.

With only one fly in the ointment of these strong numbers, The Schlager Hit Parade seems only to be present to appease their large German fanbase; otherwise, Nonetheless is one of Pet Shop Boys strongest releases yet.

The album has plenty of surprises to discover. Bullet for Narcissus is sung from the perspective of Donald Trump’s bodyguard, who expects someone to fire a bullet anytime at someone he can see right through—not a subject you would normally hear in a pop song.

On an album that will please old and new fans, Pet Shop Boys remain defiant, delectable, and rejuvenated.