On ‘Hotspot’, it seems Pet Shop Boys have little left to say

On ‘Hotspot’, it seems Pet Shop Boys have little left to say

Words by Jakeb Smith

This won’t rank highly in the legendary duo’s discography.

London’s synth-pop duo have sold 100 million albums in their almost 40-year career. Hotspot is unlikely to make too much of a dent in that number, however. 

All the elements are still there. ‘You are the One’ is a yearning love song with dreamy synth swells and a slow ‘80s backbeat. Neil Tennant’s vocals have their same distinctive strain as they melt into layers of reverb and delay. And yet, it feels a little hollow.

‘Will-o-the-Wisp’ reaches for big-time club appeal but winds up sounding like a bad night out in Ibiza. ‘Hoping for a Miracle’ is full of that uplifting ‘80s ballad magic, and ‘I Don’t Wanna’ is a decent new wave disco number with noodling synths and a serviceable break down.

‘Monkey Business’ takes the disco into angular, post punk territory, and seems a very thinly-veiled attempt at imitating Talking Heads’ Naked. It sounds great on paper, but is essentially a song about rich, middle-aged white men wanting to drink too much champagne. It kind of sums up the record.

Fans will find plenty of curated nostalgia to hold onto, but it seems as though there is little that the multi-award-winning pair have left to say.