Album Review: Pet Shop Boys - Hotspot

The British synth-pop legends show no signs of slowing down on their 14th album 'Hotspot.'
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Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys are not slowing down at all. The British synth-pop duo have released their 14th album Hotspot that builds on what has made them so great over the past forty years (!) and pushes them into the future.

Hotspot was primarily written and recorded in Berlin and Los Angeles. The album is produced and mixed by Stuart Price, marking the third Pet Shop Boys album he has produced following 2016’s Super and Electric in 2013.

Stuart Price is the producer matters because this album does have its acoustic moments, but it is driven by electronics and even a nod toward UK house throughout the record. The best example of that is the buoyant piano house on “Happy people” that one could hear in a UK nightclub today.

The album opener “Will-o-the-wisp” is the sort of soaring synth track that feels right at home with Pet Shop Boys or the numerous synthwave producers that have been influenced by them over the years.

Their single with Years & Years “Dreamland” still shines as it blends together modern pop with the 80’s magic this group imbues. “Monkey Business’ feels like quintessential Pet Shop Boys with some funk, a playful synth line and a whimsical hook.

There is a mix of slower ballads like “Only the dark,” the acoustic guitar-led “Burning the heather” or “Hoping for a miracle” that toe the line between being a tad cheesy, but also provide some needed rest on the record.

The album finishes with “Wedding in Berlin” that embodies their look to the future with a chugging four-on-the-floor beat, but features hypnotic vocals and the occasional creepy organ to break things up.

The album isn’t perfect, but it is Pet Shop Boys in fine form, showing they haven’t lost a step over the years. Their partnership with Price continues to be fruitful and their songwriting shows no signs of becoming stale. It is great to see a band like Pet Shop Boys still putting out great music and Hotspot is their latest showcase of talent.

Pick up your copy of the record here and stream below.

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