Release

Release, the eighth studio album from Pet Shop Boys, couldn't be more lovely if it tried. Really.

Release, the eighth studio album from Pet Shop Boys, couldn't be more lovely if it tried. Really. Over the course of 10 tracks—coming in at a tight 45 minutes (reminiscent of a vinyl LP's length)—Pet Shop Boys Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe deliver a career highpoint, even surpassing 1990's incredibly solid Behavior. Eschewing overly produced dancefloor fare of such recent albums as Nightlife, Release focuses on pure pop songs—period. Buoyant lead single "Home and Dry" is a delight, with ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and percussionist Jodie Linscott—who both appear elsewhere on the album—complementing Lowe's deft keyboard work and Tennant's regular-guy vocals. With Marr and Linscott on board, a terrific live feel permeates Release. Other highlights include "The Night I Fell in Love," "I Get Along," "Here," "You Choose," and the disc's sole club track, "The Samurai in Autumn."—MP