singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
24 January 2020
listening with headphonesAvid Acutus
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Klimax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
Luxman P-1u
Sennheiser HD800

Yesterday, in the car, I decided that the opening chord from The Drowners is my favourite single chord in music. End of the Century and Hard Day’s Night can each suck a fat one. (My favourite chord change is in Cocteau Twins’ Crushed. You’ll know it when you hear it.)

Today, out of the blue, the new Pet Shop Boys album turned up, and this along with it. I ordered them when they were announced, which was so long ago I’d forgotten about it. Note that I refuse to use the neologism “pre-order”. You order it. Pre-order would be the bit before you ordered it. The bit where you think “£8.99 for a single, eff off”, then decide to buy if anyway. You can’t “pre-book” either.

I mention The Drowners because no less than Bernard Butler strums along on the ‘a’. Personally I’d have got him to do some of his trademark noodling, ideally hunched over with his girly hair in his eyes. Phwoar. Those were the days. We used to go all over watching Suede back when they were new.

Said ‘a’ sounds a bit like something from Release, which suits me. I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Stuart Price albums, not least because they haven’t had much in the way of down-tempo. Rent, To Speak is a Sin, most of Behaviour: I loved that stuff. But Burning the Heather has a similar feel. Lovely, cold, and sad.

Speaking of burning heather, when I was a kid I lived on the edge of the moors, and most summers they’d catch fire at some point. It didn’t seem such a big deal then, but now when anything catches fire it feels like the end of the world.

‘b’ is a disco banger with Chris on vocals. Always a treat, even when he’s having the life vocoded out of him.

The album is called Hotspot, hopefully after the JVM JIT compilation algorithm, and I reckon they’re pushing the limits of the single word title with that one. If someone played that against me in Scrabble, I’d challenge. It’s not as near the limit as PopArt though. That shouldn’t have been allowed.

They’re like a hundred years old now, and they’re still killing it. Mark Farrow still does the sleeves, they still sound like themselves, and I still love them. Always will.