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After almost forty-years, thirteen albums and sixty-five singles, The Pet Shop Boys have remained a constant in music. Forever influencing, since “West End Girls” hit the top of the US Billboard Charts, opening the floodgates for sales of 100 million units. Now, in 2020 they return with a new long-player, Hotspot. Recorded, mostly at Hansa studios in Berlin, made famous by Bowie and Iggy Pop in the late seventies, (Low, Lust For Life_ etc.). With all the mechanics in place, the Pet Shop Boys look poised to follow on from 2016’s Super. That previous work which debuted at number-one on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums charts.
Set for release on January 24 2020, Hotspot continues the 21st century advancements of the Pet Shop Boys. Messrs Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe appear to have an endless musical pit of ideas, with a tongue-in-cheek bravado refreshingly ever-present. This is pinned down from the outset and the opening “Will-o-the-wisp”. With its ambient swirls which change direction as beats kick in fully. It is the PSB at their most fun, enjoying flexing their electro-muscles. This segues into the romanticism of “You are the one”, perhaps a stretch at a ballad, but without the soppy projections. More in the caliber of my own personal tastes is the half-spoken, chant and swoon of “Happy People”. Crossing a plethora of decades, paying tribute to the boys’ history, well it’s even stated in the song – “the rhythm of our history”.
“Dreamland” featuring Years And Years has that classic feel with a fresh sound. The voices of Olly Alexander and Neil blend quite well, though the chorus is a bit too uplifting, it is still a danceable love theme.
2. You are the one
3. Happy people
4. Dreamland (featuring Years & Years)
5. Hoping for a miracle
6. I don’t wanna
7. Monkey business
8. Only the dark
9. Burning the heather
10. Wedding in Berlin
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