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Pet Shop Boys: nonetheless (Parlophone Records) 26th April 2024



5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



The Pet Shop Boys drop their 15th studio album today [ 26th April 2024], their first for four years – back on the Parlophone record label which was the home of their hugely successful material between 1985 and 2012.

Some 41 years after PSB formed, and April 2024 being the 40th anniversary of the debut single, “West End Girls”, their new 10-track album is the duo’s first with producer James Ford, who has previously worked with artists including Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode, Blur, Gorillaz and Simian Mobile Disco.

The creative partnership between Ford, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe seems to have paid dividends from the off – there can be no argument that “nonetheless” is a bloody stunner of an LP. They sound as mighty as they did back in the days of hit after hit after hit.

“nonetheless” features 10 brand new tracks, recorded and mixed in London last year, primarily at James Ford’s studio in East London. The orchestra and backing vocals were recorded at The Church studio in North London.



The music on “nonetheless” is both uplifting and reflective, mixing electronics, live instruments and orchestral arrangements. The songs are very melodic and quintessentially Pet Shop Boys with a fresh, open sound, bringing together classic strands of PSB song-writing and moving them in new directions.

Pet Shop Boys spoke about the creative process around the record: “We wanted this album to be a celebration of the unique and diverse emotions that make us human. From the more dance-orientated tracks to the raw poignancy of the introspective ballads, with their beautiful string arrangements, each track tells a story and contributes to the overall narrative of the album.”

Notably energised and driven by the huge resurgence spawned by their last trilogy of studio albums, and the ongoing success of their “Dreamworld: The Greatest Hits Live” tour, “nonetheless” is the sound of a group at a new peak of their remarkably consistent creative power.

Dynamite Duo

Having sold in excess of 50 million records, Pet Shop Boys are the most successful UK duo of all time. Since their first # one single, “West End Girls”, they have forged a singular path.

Such is the strength of their catalogue that in June 2020, The Guardian reported that “West End Girls” had been voted the greatest #one single ever in the UK: “36 years on, their debut single still pulses with that beguiling ambiguity – perfect pop equilibrium that almost made Dusty Springfield crash her car the first time she heard it.”

BRIT awards and Grammy nominations have been numerous, including in 2009 when Pet Shop Boys won the BRIT for outstanding contribution to music; in 2000 Pet Shop Boys’ song-writing was rewarded with the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music – with more than 70 hit singles spanning five decades, song-writing remains resolutely at the core of Pet Shop Boys’ continuing relevance and success.

PSB’s last three albums, recorded with producer Stuart Price, coincided with extended bouts of touring which saw the group headline Glastonbury for the third time, as well as headlining other major music festivals across the world.

The duo also toured the US in 2022 in the co-headlining “Unity” tour with New Order, which saw them selling out arenas including Madison Square Garden in New York and the Hollywood Bowl in LA. PSB finished that year headlining Edinburgh’s iconic Hogmanay show. More dates for the “Dreamworld” tour have already been announced for 2024, including a headline slot at the Isle of Wight Festival this summer.

Pet Shop Boys said: “We’re very excited to release this new album. Its 10 tracks are the strongest indicators of where we are today. Like much of our music it’s very reflective. It was great to work with James Ford, who we think has brought new elements to our music. Our demos are sometimes quite complicated, and James has dared to make us a bit more minimal at times – but also, the string arrangements are very beautiful. Some of the record is quite heart-breaking, but we hope a lot of it is also uplifting. It’s a record we’re very proud of.”

Back home…

Parlophone Managing Director Jennifer Ivory added: “Pet Shop Boys and Parlophone enjoyed an incredibly successful and creative partnership which spanned almost 30 years, so it feels amazing to have them back with us. One of the most innovative and inventive acts to come out of the UK, their new music continues to evolve and push boundaries while they continue to blaze their own trail.

“We couldn’t be happier to be working with them again on this new and exciting stage of their career. Parlophone is overwhelmingly proud to welcome Neil and Chris back home!”.

The duo will play five special performances at London’s Royal Opera House from July 23 – 27. In 2016 Pet Shop Boys became the first electronic group to play the venue with a four performance run that was so rapturously received they returned there in 2018 for further sold-out shows, garnering even greater acclaim than before.

Inspired by the life of Rudolf Nureyev, the ballet dancer who defected from the Soviet Union and became a global star, “Dancing Star” was the second single taken from the new album – one of the standouts of the album. As is another single lifted from the record, “Loneliness”.

To be fair, there are no weak cuts in this 10-song set. It all sounds like classic Pet Shop Boys. Their creative flame is not so much still flickering after four+ decades, but it is burning brighter than ever. A Grammy shoo-in?

  • There is a standard CD: 10-track album in gatefold soft-pack, with a 12-page booklet. A deluxe two CD set: 10-track album + bonus four-track EP, “Furthermore”, packaged in a card wallet housing two inner card wallets, with two CDs and a 12-page booklet. The four bonus tracks are completely new recordings of “Heart”, “Being Boring”, “Always On My Mind” and “It’s A Sin”.
  • Vinyl junkies are well catered for: Standard black vinyl, Amazon: Clear vinyl, HMV/Indies: Grey vinyl, D2C exclusive: Deluxe double white vinyl + bonus four-track EP “Furthermore” in a gatefold sleeve. There is also a cassette version.



Words: Steve Best

[Blue PSB photo: Alasdair McLellan

Artwork photography: Tim Walker Studio

Artwork design: Farrow/PSB



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