This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Musically, U.K. disco duo The Pet Shop Boys have always swung one way — and with each other.
But after nearly two decades of synth-pop, house hits and rave romanticism, their surprising new release Release finds Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe experimenting with multiple partners and flirting with a new love: Britpop. No, really. Backed by an actual band led by ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, the boys unveil their first rock record — or as close as they can come to one. Which is to say, while gentle poppy ballads like I Get Along, Birthday Boy and London aren’t headbanger fare, their Oasis-like melodies and guitar solos are a long way from the dance floor. As is The Night I Fell in Love, a wickedly barbed fantasy about man-boy love between Eminem and a teenage fan. No, really. Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places. We’re not sure who Pet Shop Boys are trying to seduce with Release, but we can only hope their fans still respect them in the morning.