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Record Collector album review: Pet Shop Boys, Yes.

On the tenth anniversary of one of PSB’s more engaging latter period long-players, this is a review I penned for Record Collector magazine in the UK. Yup.

Johnny Marr’s album No.4 with pop’s seminal synthmeisters. 

Fresh from their Brits accolade (the only electronic act to receive the industry’s highest honour, natch), the dynamic disco duo seize the momentum with their fourth set in three years, and I’m happy to report that Yes is positively brimming with atypically affirmative uses for The ‘L’ Word. Unlike the last couple of downbeat discs, Neil must be in a relationship, and, boy, does it show.

Though musically (if not always lyrically) invigorated by Xenomania’s unorthodox but unashamedly chart-hugging sensibility, it’s not all wall-to-wall romper stompers. No matter – Yes is a hook-heavy hybridity that sounds, to quote the PSB pair it most closely resembles, Very Nightlife.

Bells and whistles blaring, the radio-friendly triumvirate of far-from-wet whirlwind More Than A Dream and riotous Richard X-T-C-lite of Pandemonium (both could easily be hits for Girls Aloud, though the latter was intended for Kylie), as well as the exhilarating Electronic-esque sauce of Did You See Me Coming? prove there’s a plethora of potential singles after the cheery Chumbawumba-aping rouser Love Etc..

And if the latter is totally Tubthumping takes on Tainted Love in the summer of ’67, the less good Legacy, coruscatingly scored by Arcade Fire’s Owen Pallet, goes back further, to 1297 and William Wallace overblown with a mobile phone.

Unnatural rhymes aside, is the album the Boys’ best for 15 years? Aye.

© Steve Pafford 2009, 2019

First published: Record Collector, April 2009

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