9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2002
I recently ordered this album from Amazon UK, because I didn't want to wait for the US release. I have been a PSB fan for nearly 20 years and I love it! The album as a whole is a nice mixture of the old and new, acoustic and electronic. Not many pre-packaged dance hits here, although there are some potential chart climbers. The album includes Home and dry and Here, both poppy, sentimental odes to the love and safety of "home". Other tracks explore love, security, and hope. All of the tracks sound more mature both lyrically and musically. Could it be the Pet Shop Boys are growing up? Considering their reputation as dance floor, techno-pop icons, this album is truly a "Release".
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2006
i bought this album when it first came out, gave it a listen and then put it away for a couple of years.
then, last weekend, i was sitting at my computer, messengering people and having a quiet drink, and i put 'release' on as a random thought.
i was amazed! why had i given it the elbow all that time ago? it's actually a very, very good album. highlights include the cheerful 'home and dry', the downbeat 'email', the upbeat 'the samurai in autumn' and my own personal favourite, 'love is a catastrophe' (which has the potential to reduce you to tears when you're feeling maudlin).
quite honestly, there isn't a duff track on the album. on first listening it isn't an instant or obvious hit, but like the best albums it certainly grows on you. only four stars because i consider 'very' and 'introspective' to be psb's magnum opus.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2007
It's been a long time since I've really enjoyed a Pet Shop boys album. I grew up listening to them in the 80s after a friend lent me his 'Disco' album on cassette. I copied it and had it on loop for ages, before eventually buying my own copy along with 'Very' and 'Actually'. I have fond memories of listening to those albums on school trips and in the back on my parents car on my old Sony Walkman. Somehow the Pet Shop Boys bleak electronic pop sound will always be synonymous with the M11 motorway for me.
Later I bought 'Introspective', probably my most listened to of their albums, after that 'Behaviour' and then, well it petered out. Like all good bands you need to be inventive and experimental if you're to survive and during their 'Very' and Ibiza 'Bilingual' years and subsequent experiments the PSB never really had the same impact for me.
So why am I saying all this, well because here we are at the Pet Shop Boys 9th album and I feel I've been on the journey with them. Like all good PSB albums they seem to sneak out rather than arrive with a fan fair. I more or less stumbled upon this one completely by accident. However I'm so glad I did, everything has finally come full circle. Here we have a polished, clinical PSBs album that is every bit as refined as the first releases back in the 80s. It's not a rehash of their old music, it's like they've strayed from the path and finally come back on to terra firma and boy did we have to wait.
The Pet Shop Boys are never going to be a mainstream zeitgeist group as they were during their 'Very' days when every song came with a flamboyant video to be played on Top of the Pops, however considering I thought that 'Released' marked an end to their career this is truly a phoenix from the flames and leaves you wanting more. If this is their swan song, then it's a great place to leave it, if they decide to follow this album with more music it's going to have to be very good to compete.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2002
These are strange times for Pet Shop Boys. Since the success of their No.1 album "Very", PSBs have seen sales figures decline and top-10 hits hard to come by. This decline in no way reflects the quality of music they have produced over this last decade, and with "Release", their first album of the new millenium and eighth to date, they prove that they are still a mighty force to be reckoned with. Release shows the PSBs taking their music in a direction far removed from the high energy of Nightlife and has more common with 1990's Behaviour, with 9 of the 10 tracks building around guitar played by ex-Smith and long-time PSB collaborater Johnny Marr. The album opens with lead-off single Home and Dry, and within the opening seconds the new direction is set. This is an album concerned with separation and loss, and this opener - reminisant of The Police's "Every Breath You Take" - concerns someone separated from their lover and longing for them to return "home and dry". "I Get Along", the arguable highlight of the set, deals with the feelings of someone whose broken up with their lover, "London" describes the adventure of two Russian's in a foreign land, while "E-mail" closes the first half of the album as a beautiful ballad returning to the themes of "Home and Dry". The second half begins with a more familiar PSBs sound with "The Samurai In Autumn", dealing with the theme of with being past the prime of life. The set moves through the bitter rock-ballad of "Love Is A Catastrophe" to the gorgeous "Here", and then to "The Night I Fell In Love". This song is classic PSBs, a story told in five minutes which is both funny and thought-provoking. The album closes with "You Choose", a song which concludes the album saying that you must accept responsibility the hurt you feel through loss: if you don't want to get hurt, then don't fall in love.
Release is an album of 10 songs, each beautifully crafted, both lyrically and musically, each a Pet Shop Boys classic. This is truely their greatest album to date. It bubbles with emotion and never disappoints. Halfway through the album Neil Tennant muses, "It's not as easy as it was, or as difficult as it could be" which may be seen as a sound judgement of the Pet Shop Boys ability to achieve chart success, but in terms of musical achievement and artist creativity, these words couldn't be further from the truth. This is truely the Pet Shop Boys greatest release.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2002
What a fantastic album. Admittedly it was a shock to the nervous system, all those guitars. But it works!! After a few listens I was hooked.
Love is a catastrophe, what a sad song but very true - it sounds (to me) a little like rent.
E-mail is a personal song - the opening 3 chords sound like west end girls(Cmaj7,D7,E9).
My favourite on the album is You Choose, it has some very good lyrics 'you don't get drunk by accident you choose' my only criticism of the song is that it's not longer.
I get along - show Noel & Liam how to do it, it is very Beatles - esque
The Samurai in Autumn is based on a Japanese poem which is suppose you would compare with an Irish Lymeric. It only has a couple of lines 'It is not as easy as it was or as difficult as it could be for the Samurai in Autumn' I'm not sure if it does fit in with the rest of the album though as this is the only techno song on it.
It's a fantastic album, if your expecting techno wizardary then probably best to avoid.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2002
The Pet Shop Boys are back, with a different sounding album. This album requires more listening and is not as instant as other albums, but there are some immediate sounding hits.
First single 'Home and Dry' and one of their catchiest songs since 'Its a Sin' - 'I Get Along'.
'London', 'Here ' and 'E-mail' are classic Pet Shop Boys, mixed in with some rockier, slower, tracks as well as the sythscape that is 'Samurai in Autumn'.
Simple, thoughtful and a definate grower. The Pets always give value for money and food for thought - dont miss 'Release' !
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2002
After 3-years break, the duo follows completely new direction, hiring a long-time fellow Johnny Marr to play guitar on 8 of 10 new tracks. Mellow and sincere downtempo ballads make the most part of the album that is best compared to their 1990's masterpiece, Behaviour.
Release is not definitely the dance music the Pet Shop Boys were always known for, and yet it sparkles with moody and brilliant melodies, perfectly arranged and providing the wisdom not heard yet.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2002
Even though "Release" has a somewhat different overall sound (more guitar-orientated, for example) than the previous Pet Shop Boys albums, it contains some of their finest music to date. Standout tracks include, "Birthday Boy" and "Love is a Catastrophe"... the latter track, in my opinion, features singer Neil Tennant's finest vocal performance ever. Also, the accompanying first single "Home and Dry" (also opening track on the album) includes some first rate b-sides... "Always", in particular, maybe the finest track the PSB have ever written. Don't miss this outstanding album, or the new single "Home and Dry".
on 14 December 2014
Three years after "Nightlife", an album rich in production value but reasonably poor musically, and just three months after the very colourful (and successful) CD from the musical "Closer to Heaven", the Pet Shop Boys decided to come back to something a bit more intimate, just "Neil and Chris in the studio" with a lot of guitar (Johnny Marr plays on six tracks out of ten).
The result is "Release", a lean and mean (45 minutes of music exactly) album, which is overall very beautiful musically but which is, despite appearances, also quite rich in production values.
Despite percussionist Jodie Linscott being credited on eight tracks, it is sometimes difficult to make out real instruments from electronics and, as always with the Boys, there is a lot to listen to on every track. Therefore I do not abide by the cliché on this album that the Boys restrained the production to emphasise the music. On the contrary, there is a more discreet (but still very potent) production enhancing the superb musical qualities of the album.
Where to start? First, Neil Tennant's lyric are this time spot on. By focusing on stories and feelings as opposed to the back and forth between two lovers fighting in "Nightlife", Tennant is back in top form and gives a wonderful range of song lyrics, from cinematic stories ("London", "The night I fell in love", "Birthday Boy") to very accute introspection ("love is a catastrophe", "I get along") through communication between people ("email", "you choose", "Here"). All the songs are superbly written.
But the triumph is also musical. The first single, "Home and Dry" (including a chord inspired from The Police's "Every breath you take") is a beautiful ballad and so is "I get along". "London" should be a war cry from all the foreign talents who decided to move to London to live the dream - and PSBs express this very well. "E-mail" is a very successful and sweet ballad, while "love is a catastrophe", with its haunting chords, ranks among the saddest songs PSBs have ever written. The best song in the album is probably "Here", a very catchy tune while "The night I fell in love" is a very complex song hidden under a very efficient melody. Its reasonably disturbing subject matters (homosexuality, potentially pedophilia, hypocrisy) are addressed under a very sweet and gentle ballad: highly recommended.
In typical Pet Shop Boys fashion, one will have to admire the details, as always: the booklet and the CD box are a class of their own, while the album's songs are themselves perfectly arranged. Also the order of the songs is very well-chosen: in-between ballads and more introspective songs, the Boys have inserted a very efficient dance romp, almost fully instrumental: the great "Samurai in autumn". The only slight disappointment will be "Birthday boy" a little too abstract and convoluted for my taste.
With this album, their best since "Very-Relentless", the Boys, like the eponymous Samurai, can confidently say that really things are not as difficult as they could be.
Well done boys, and keep it up.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2002
Yes, yes, yes... The album "Release" is not just another release, but THE RELEASE. Pet Shop Boys' new album is something between Behauviour and Very, their best albuns till this year. But, definitely this is second best Boys' album. Home and Dry, the first single is, easy, one of the top 5 PSB's songs, followed closer by "I Get Along". "London" and "E-mail" are both brilliant songs. The album is the the second best because is an homogenic album. It's hard to say one of the 10 songs is a boring or bad one. Of course there are highlights in the album, but definitely there are no downhills. A classic, and since now, one of the best albuns of the year.