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Trevor Horn

Born on this day in 1949, in Hetton Le HoleHoughton le SpringCounty Durham, United Kingdom, bassist and record producer, Trevor Horn. Horn was instrumental in producing many influential bands in the 80’s, including; Frankie Goes To Hollywood, The Buggles, Paul McCartney, Yes, Art of Noise and Seal.

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Quick Spins

Pet Shop Boys /Hotspot

Pet Shop Boys

Hotspot (X2 Recordings Ltd.)

Petshopboys.co.uk

While casual pop fans will relegate Pet Shop Boys into the one-hit-wonder bin, the truth is, they’ve been releasing music since their 1980’s heyday, maturing and expanding their sound with each new release. Indeed, “Bolshy” and “Thursday,” from 2013’s Electric made that release a career high-water mark.

Frontman Neil Tenant and synth genius Chris Lowe have another stunner on their hands. These ten tracks are among their best. “Will-o-the-wisp” is a thumping club groove, albeit with cheeky bleeps and blips giving way to a dark, minor-key chorus. Driving and relentless, it sets up the rest of the record impeccably.

“Dreamland” and “Monkey Business,” catch my ear in particular, as they fill the roll of throwbacks. I’m a sucker for anything that sounds like it could’ve been recorded in 1984 and Pet Shop Boys have a sly knack for doing this without sounding silly or pandering. I’m betting most synth-pop fans will feel the same and be entertained.

D.P.