Love him or loathe him, you simply cannot deny that Robert Peter Williams has been responsible for some of the greatest pop singles of the 90s and beyond. C'mon - No Regrets? Strong? Rock DJ?. So, it came as something of a surprise when last year's Intensive Care (actually the best-selling album of his career) - was disappointingly drab. Choc-full of reflective, mostly mid-paced ballads, it signalled a change of pace for Williams, and apparently waved goodbye to the incendiary, cheeky, likeable pop that he excelled in. We should have known better. Williams has returned with possibly not only the finest offering of his career to date, but one that sounds like the album he's always wanted to make. On this evidence, it would seem that he's been immersing his lugs in 80s nostalgia; not only are most tracks smattered with electronica, but the both Pet Shop Boys and Human League also feature in some form or other. The former's influence is prevalent throughout; on the title's track's funky, robotic-laced bleepfest, Buslem Normal's sparse, spacey glow and not least on synth-laden tongue-in-cheek homage She's Madonna. Messrs. Tennant and Lowe also make an appearance on the excellent cover of My Robot Friend's We're the Pet Shop Boys (irony is alive and well in RW HQ), which isn't the sole cover on offer, either. Manu Chao's Bongo Bong receives a spicy, colourful makeover with Lily Allen on guest vocals; Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy's 80s classic Kiss Me is well-suited to Williams' warm voice, which has now made it a surefire dancefloor hit at G-A-Y, and the Human League's Louise also gets the treatment - albeit with none of the bittersweet charm that the original exuded. Most of Williams' original compositions are also top-notch, oozing the cheeky-chappy charm and clever turn of phrase he was once famed for; and though there are a few bloopers (Good Doctor, Summertime), overall, Rudebox is a thrilling return to form that suggests that Williams still has a hell of a lot to offer.