Pet Shop Boys and Neil Young prove they have still got it with new album releases

Pet Shop Boys And Neil Young Prove They Have Still Got It With New Album Releases
Glastonbury Festival 2022, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Naomi Clarke, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys prove they have still got it as they enter the fifth decade of their career, while French electronic outfit Justice explore disco and funk sounds in their latest release.

– Pet Shop Boys – Nonetheless



Forty years on from their first single, the original version of West End Girls, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe release their 15th studio album with a return to the Parlaphone label. but a new producer in James Ford. who has worked with Arctic Monkeys, Blur and The Last Dinner Party.

This mix of old and new appears to be a key feature of Nonetheless, which has a certain familiarity from the first listen, with tracks that hint at past songs by the UK’s most successful music duo of all time.

Yet rather than Nonetheless sounding recycled or stale, nods to their previous work creates an almost cosy feeling for fans.


Much of the optimistic, upbeat yet sometimes dreamy album was created during the Covid lockdown period when Tennant and Lowe were unable to share their ideas in person.

Why Am I Dancing? reflects on the times when Tennant, and many others, danced alone in their kitchen, while New London Boy appears to take inspiration from David Bowie’s The London Boys to tell Tennant’s own story of moving from the North East.

An emotion-packed album which gets better with every listen.

Score: 8/10


(Review by Beverley Rouse)

– Justice – Hyperdrama


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If asked to name a French electronic duo, most people would probably say Daft Punk because of their international fame, though Justice, who achieved some success in the noughties with their Simian remix We Are Your Friends and some singles from their debut album Cross, offer a more unique sound and are out to prove they have still got it.

Their first studio album in seven years, the boys pair electronic music with disco and funk elements.

The twosome have teamed up with Australian psychedelic musician Tame Impala on a couple of tracks, a collaboration that works well, especially on lead single One Night/All Night as Parker’s dreamy vocals play over the electronic beat. Generator is the highlight though as it carries Justice’s trademark heavier electronic sound.

Unfortunately, some tracks see the disco and funk influences make for a much lighter sound and it feels as though they are losing a grip on the heavier beat that sets them apart from their EDM contemporaries.

Justice demonstrate their skill as talented producers once again, but only a handful of the songs could fire up a club.

Score: 6/10

(Review by Mason Oldridge)

-St Vincent – All Born Screaming

Annie Clark’s seventh album under her St Vincent persona is the heaviest, and perhaps most unsettling, to date.

A suitably sinister intro to Hell Is Near sets the tone but it is the percussive battering in the second half of Reckless which kicks the album into gear. Coupled with glitchy electronica it creates a constantly unsettling soundscape – witnessed to even greater effect on Broken Man with its three flesh-and-blood drummers, including Dave Grohl, along with Clark’s drum programming.

The album’s first half is powered by some of the fiercest, hardest-rocking guitar work of Clark’s idiosyncratic career, before the second branches out into a range of styles – Violent Times features an arresting brass hook and an astonishing vocal performance, while The Power’s Out feels like a resurfaced wireless transmission from a dystopian past.

Nirvana and Foo Fighters mainstay Grohl is one of several notable guest stars, with his current Foos bandmate Josh Freese and Warpaint’s respected gun for hire Stella Mozgawa taking turns on the kit while Cate Le Bon features frequently. Clark takes on solo production duties for the first time and has clearly taken notes from long-time collaborator John Congleton, whose horror-movie style as well as his own pAper chAse project are echoed here.

Score: 8/10

(Review by Tom White)

– Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Fu##in’ Up

Ragged glory indeed – Neil Young’s latest album is as raw as you’ll ever hear from a mainstream artist, yet makes complete sense.

Full of feedback, extended guitar solos and tracks stretched out up to 15 minutes, Fu##in’ Up sounds spontaneous and exciting.

Young and his band Crazy Horse have rerecorded their grunge-inspired 1990 album Ragged Glory, the songs in the same order but with different titles, though final track Mother Earth is missing.

Opener City Life blasts in on a blizzard of guitars, Feels Like A Railroad sees Young’s plaintive voice struggling to be heard and the title track, Heart Of Steel here, is heavily distorted.

To Follow One’s Own Dream, inspired by Bob Dylan’s My Back Pages, sees Young unleash his harmonica, and the one cover, Farmer John, is as rough as when his teenage garage band played it.

Best of all is epic final track A Chance On Love (originally Love And Only Love), over 15 minutes here, though Young has been known to play it for twice as long live.

Aimed at Young completists and fanatics, Fu##in’ Up crackles with energy and power as these songs gain a new lease of life.


(Review by Matthew George)

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