ALBUM PARLOPHONE, EMI RELEASE:
APRIL 1, 2002 REVIEW: APRIL 3, 2002
is a typical Pet Shop Boys album. At least in the sense that it has Neil
Tennant's funny and thoughtful lyrics and the duo's brilliant sense of
melody. But this time, the boys did not want to make a dance album. The
result is "Release", a melancholic and slow tempo album, where
the songs themselves take on a more important role. I vaguely remember
that PSB made a promise some years ago that they never would make a rock
album. This is the closest they have come to break that promise so far.
But they stay on the right side of the line, even though some tracks even
have guitar solos.
All the tracks except two have Johnny Marr's famous guitars on them, and
they sure make a nice addition to the overall sound. According to Chris
Lowe, the drums are still electronic, but they have mostly used acoustic
drum samples to build the rhythms.
Let us talk a bit about some of the tracks. The first single "Home
and Dry" is a surprisingly bleak effort I think, and eerily reminiscent
of The Police's "Every Breath You Take" on the first couple
of listens. It grows a little bit on repeated listening, but doesn't come
close to classic singles such as "Being Boring" or "It's
a Sin". "Birthday Boy" is an epic ballad loaded with drama,
complete with guitar solo and tambourines. "London", another
of the boys songs about
London, has got an electronic
groove underneath lush strings and surprising synthstabs. "The Samurai
in Autumn" is an uptempo and blippy affair with no guitars at all,
but instead sports rather weird lyrics: "It's not as easy as it was
/ Or as easy as it should be / for the Samurai in autumn". Over and
Both "Very" and "Actually" are miles ahead of "Release",
but it still contains good pop songs with mostly witty and interesting
lyrics. It is also nice to see that the duo is taking risks, doing something
different. They have showed some signs of repeating themselves a bit too
much before, and I like that they have managed to get out of it.
artwork is nice too, even though Mark Farrow is not involved this time.
Another drastic change.