I recently attended a dinner party and brought up the topic of the forthcoming Pet Shop Boys comeback. Some friends recalled fond memories of the Boys. Some were fully aware of their big return to the spotlight. Some heckled, "Are they still alive???". Regardless of opinion on the matter, Yes certifiably is a strong album. I will go as far to say that it is their Confessions on a Dancefloor. An album that showcases unmistakable talent needing only breath of fresh production to re-assert relevance again in today's fickle market, yet satisfying loyal fans.
Production experts Xenomania who are responsible for a bit of a UK pop renaissance right now in Girls Aloud, Alesha Dixon, Sugababes and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, helped man the boards here. Debut single Love, Etc. co-produced by that team, has been enjoying lukewarm chart reception since Pet Shop Boys' widely-publicized Brit Awards appearance. My bets however, are on second single All Over The World making more of an impact with its majestic bhangra beat and Nutcraker sample. Beautiful People is a glamorous homage to the late '60s – early '70s, much in the same vein as Girls Aloud's The Promise or Kylie Minogue's Loveboat. Delightful. Did You See Me Coming recalls the glory of Stock Aitken Waterman with updates in production. More Than a Dream is discosexual with its throbbing bassline and detailing that could pass the track off as Girls Aloud's Call the Shots…. pour homme. Pandemonium and The Way It Used To Be exude classic Pet Shop Boys elegance. Listen closely to the latter's breakdown – it will have you questioning whether Scissor Sisters decided to drop by for tea at the studio.
The album hits a brief lull midway with the plodding Building A Wall and again on its finale Legacy, which quite frankly is a hot mess with an over-the-top monologue en Francais.
One thing I have noted is that there are several parts of the album where I genuinely feel that I am listening to a Stuart Price production. This is a true testament to the impact the Boys have had on dance-pop music today. Yes really is a full circle tribute back to the Pet Shop Boys, illustrating that the sound they helped pioneer from the mid-80s onwards still has a place with pop listeners today. Yes, it really has been 25 years in the making.
The album is out tomorrow in the UK and on the 24th in Canada and will also be available in dual disc special edition featuring bonus tracks and remixes. Our friends in the U.S. will have to wait til April 21st for the release of Yes.
I must stand on my soapbox for a moment and express my disapproval of delayed American release dates. In this day and age, fans are often forced to find alternative means to get an album. It would not surprise me if this album fails to make a dent in the U.S. market at all. A simultaneous international release would only benefit fans and the artist. For the latest on Pet Shop Boys, visit their official page at http://www.petshopboys.co.uk.