Pet Shop Boys Nonetheless art

Pet Shop Boys – Nonetheless (Album Review)

Pet Shop Boys 2024

At this point, the prolific Pet Shop Boys have certainly secured a special spot in the hall of New Wave/Synthpop pioneers. Formed in 1981, out of London, England, primary Vocalist Neil Tennant and Keyboardist Chris Lowe have an impressive discography of 15 studio albums; from the 1986 debut Please and far beyondArmed with an arsenal of hit singles that include “West End Girls,” “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money),” “Love Comes Quickly,” “Suburbia,” “What Have I Done to Deserve This?,” “Rent,” “It’s a Sin,” “Always on My Mind,” “Domino Dancing,” “Go West,” and “Home and Dry,” the Pet Shop Boys have left a substantial impression. Now four years after the release of 2020’s Hotspot, and a year since the 2023 EP Lost, the duo are back at it again with Nonetheless.

Coming out on April 26, 2024 via Parlophone Records, the 10-track power packed album produced by James Ford (who has worked with everyone from Depeche Mode to Blur) is their fifteenth overall full-length. Also marking the longest gap they have gone between studio albums, Nonetheless is a treat not only to the genre’s loyal followers, but also to the younger generation that is looking for sophisticated Dance/Pop-oriented party music. That in mind, with summer on the horizon it is time to sweat the chilly blues away by getting into the trademark warmth and groove of Pet Shop Boys’ intelligent music.

Consisting of 10 songs, Nonetheless opens with its lead single, “Loneliness,” which quickly sets the mood with discotheque vibes – coupled with strobe lights, poignant lyrics, and nostalgic melodies. This is then followed by the sparse, textured, and strings-filled “Feel.” The ensuing “Why Am I Dancing?” is as anthemic as it can be; definitely a future classic – with all the necessary Pet Shop Boys ingredients, worthy of getting played alongside any of the songs from 1986’s Please or 1987’s Actually.

Tennant and Lowe then slow down the rhythm to relax the atmosphere with the calm grace, as well as the relatively minimal sway of the Rap-adorned “New London Boy.” Afterwards, the beat picks up pace once again, as if the two have not left the ’80s dancefloor or the world did not revolve away from the glorious sound of the glittery decade. Offering another ballad, the piano-led comes next in the form of “A New Bohemia.” The track that follows, “The Schlager Hit Parade,” is a standout for its mild ’60s Sunny Pop sensibilities, but which transitions into a proper Synthpop midtempo thereafter. Meanwhile, “The Secret of Happiness” is a subtle change of style-lounge, a bit Bossanova, a tad Samba. Then, with the percussive and funky “Bullet for Narcissus,” Pet Shop Boys take you back to the center of the laser-lit dance floor before wrapping up this latest opus with the melodramatic, cinematic “Love Is the Law.”

Of the ’80s alumni of New Wave/Synthpop music that includes O.M.D., Erasure, and Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys continue to lead the contemporary frontliners. Consistent hitmakers, Pet Shop Boys have simply added yet another strong album into their sonic résumé with Nonetheless. This mix of Dance stompers and ballads is another fresh start for the duo… and hopefully not their last. For all of these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Nonetheless 4 out of 5 stars.

Pet Shop Boys - Nonetheless album
Pet Shop Boys – Nonetheless / Parlophone Records (2024)

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