April 4, 2009 / 1:23 AM / 10 years ago

Pet Shop Boys brings it pop tunes to new audiences

LONDON (Billboard) - The title of the Pet Shop Boys’ 10th album, “Yes,” perfectly reflects the duo’s positive mood as they celebrate 25 years of proving synth pop can rise above mindless fluff.

With 32 Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart entries, the duo tails only Madonna and Janet Jackson as hitmakers on that chart.

The pair is targeting a fresh audience after winning an outstanding contribution to British music trophy at February’s BRIT Awards. At the London event, Pet Shop Boys performed a medley of hits and new material that included guest appearances by Lady GaGa and the Killers’ Brandon Flowers.

“It felt really good,” singer Neil Tennant says. “It was a sign that musically the climate seems amenable to us at the moment.”

The BRITs performance served as the launch pad for the album’s March 23 U.K. release on Parlophone/EMI. “Yes” entered the U.K. albums chart at No. 4. Astralwerks will release the set stateside on April 21.

For the album, which is the latest in the duo’s 24-year association with Parlophone, the act teamed with the Kent, England-based production powerhouse Xenomania.

“I imagine it’s what it was like working at Motown. There’s that real energy and real determination to have hit records,” keyboardist Chris Lowe says. The collaboration was so successful that the album includes three tracks co-written by Xenomania, and another was given to Xenomania’s regular partners, the U.K. group Girls Aloud. Lowe says he is “absolutely over the moon” with the resulting Girls Aloud top 10 hit, “The Loving Kind.”

Parlophone president Miles Leonard believes the association with Girls Aloud, the BRITs appearance, remixes of Madonna, performances with the Killers and collaborations with Robbie Williams help put Pet Shop Boys in front of a new audience.

The duo’s last set, 2006’s “Fundamental,” released through Rhino in the United States, wasn’t a big seller — moving 46,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and 66,000 in the United Kingdom, according to the Official Charts Co.

But hopes are high for the polished tunes on “Yes.”

“It’s a very pop album,” Lowe says of the set, which includes contributions from former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and classical references as well: The song “All Over the World” uses the melody from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite.”

“We’ve never been afraid to bring things into pop music from outside,” Tennant said.

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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