The veterans reckon lay into band like Hear'say and Steps, labelling them "meaningless" and "careerist"...

Pop veterans the Pet Shop Boys have slammed today’s pop scene as careerist and meaningless – singling out Steps and Hear’Say as the worst offenders.

Speaking exclusively to NME.COM to talk about their forthcoming sold out NME show at the London Astoria – which the band are “really excited about” – Pet Shop Boys Chris Lowe said that he despaired of the “stage school” background of most acts currently populating the charts.

“When we started as a pop group in the 80s we were a pop group and very proud to be a pop group. But that doesn’t really exist anymore – look at S Club 7, Westlife, etc. Everyone wants to be taken seriously rather than as a pop group. Yet most of them don’t even write their own songs! In our time, we always did and still do – so did Soft Cell, Culture Club, Heaven 17, etc. Pop music had some sort of integrity then. Pop music then was all about writing your songs and doing the whole thing for yourself. We didn’t even have stylists! That’s what we looked like!

“It meant something. But now it’s just a career. You go to stage school and you come out either wanting to be a television presenter or in some crap band.”

Chris named and shamed who he saw as the worst perpetrators.

“I mean, three of Steps don’t even like the music they sing! Yet they expect you to pay to hear it! Or Hear’say. They just treat it as a job. I hate that. WE still believe in pop music.”

Chris also spoke exclusively about the band’s as yet untitled forthcoming album, the follow-up to 1999’s ‘Nightlife’ – saying that former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr played on most tracks and that the album was more guitar based than ever before.

“The new album is definitely more guitar-based, very song-based,” Lowe explained. “The starting point for the songs wasn’t really influenced by dance music. We just threw the demo down then threw on different drums beats to see what fitted.”

He continued: “It’s actually quite a melancholy album and the songs are very personal to Neil, very genuine, very earnest. There’s no irony. It’s very honest – and it’s our best album for donkey’s years. It’s not really about image, it’s about the music. That’s why we want to take it out to people.”

For more on Pet Shop Boys see the current double Christmas issue of NME, in shops in the UK now.