The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
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Pet Shop Boys have done it yet again with catchy and bittersweet 'Nonetheless'

Associated Press Monday, 17 June 2024, 12:15 Last update: about 30 days ago

Once upon a time, on Pet Shop Boys ' first single, "West End Girls," vocalist Neil Tennant sang the lines, "We've got no future / We've got no past / Here today, built to last."

Fifteen studio records later, there possibly isn't a better verse that captures the timelessness of the stone-faced British pop duo that appears to, indeed, be built to last.

Known for their synthesizer-backed dance tracks with emotionally resonant lyrics, Tennant and keyboardist Chris Lowe created their own style of electric pop — influenced by glam rock and disco — that has stood the test of time with consistent releases over the years. Their latest album, "Nonetheless," falls right in line with the pattern.

Tennant's simple-sounding vocals tell stories of loneliness, longing and love, elevated by bumping electronic beats and orchestral harmonies in this bittersweet masterpiece. Lowe's synthesizer skills bring each track to life, as always, and the dichotomy between heart-wrenching lyrics and dance-inducing instrumentals is a poignant reflection of human emotion.

Catchy track "Why am I dancing?" is a perfect example. Head-bopping beats and triumphant trumpets and strings accompany the lyrics, "Why am I dancing when I'm so alone? / Maybe I can celebrate on my own."

Nostalgia for another time and place seeps throughout "Nonetheless." Tennant reflects on starting out on his own in "New London boy," and he yearns for a feeling just out of reach in "A new bohemia."

"The secret of happiness" feels like falling in love in an old Hollywood movie with a sweeping orchestral arrangement, while final track "Love is the law" takes a more ominous turn with lyrics describing the feeling such as: "It waits and watches / Weaves and dodges / Catch it like a cold / No one is immune."

Packed with gems, "Nonetheless" is sure to delight both old and new fans and shows that the duo isn't slowing down any time soon.

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