“Challenging yet innovative… a sound that feels equally nostalgic yet future-facing.”
“Alluringly refreshing and passionate.”
“Striking. Cinematic. [The Heroic Enthusiasts’] creative collaborations deftly merge the intellectual and emotional.”
“Inspired. Glistening synth arpeggios, mathematically precise, propulsive four-on-the-floor and bursts of angular guitar paired with Tabbi’s expressive crooning and razor-sharp hooks.”
—The Joy of Violent Movement
“Lovely shimmering synth tones and backed up with guitars to give you a slap of the 1980s.”
—It’s All Indie
“Dynamic . . . a breath of fresh air. Urgent and propulsive.”
—This Is Pop
On the heels of The Heroic Enthusiasts’ two critically and commercially celebrated EPs released this past year on Meridian/ECR Music Group, the synth-pop duo has embarked on a new and historic collaboration with legendary producer Stephen Hague: a fresh version of the iconic Pet Shop Boys single, “It’s A Sin.” The story of this collaboration is one of both coincidence, and fate.
Hague is one of the indelible producers of the past half-century, helming records for a list of iconic artists including New Order, Erasure, Peter Gabriel, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Blur, Robert Palmer, Pretenders, and of course, Pet Shop Boys.
The Heroic Enthusiasts’ now well-established musical partnership with Hague (he produced both of the duo’s aforementioned EPs) has been taken to a new level with “It’s A Sin,” the chart-topping hit Hague originally produced (with Julian Mendelsohn) and mixed for Pet Shop Boys in 1987.
“My first encounter with the The Heroic Enthusiasts’ version of ‘It’s A Sin’ was while scanning through some demos they’d sent, not paying much attention to the titles, just listening,” explains Hague. “When the track started I thought it was interesting but then as the first chorus hit I thought, ‘Wait a minute!’ Up to that point I didn’t realize what song it was—the mark of a good cover!”
Hague dusted off his old Oberheim OB-Xa polysynth (the very one he’d used on the Pet Shop Boys’ record), and performed the same, unmistakable chorus riff he’d performed on the original, doubling it with guitar. “I’ve always thought the best covers put a spin on an existing song while showing respect to the source,” says Hague. “This is one of those.”
“It’s A Sin” builds on The Heroic Enthusiasts’ recent history with Hague. That history began with an auspicious introduction. “So much of what I’m sent these days is basically beats with hooks, but the Heroic’s stuff was a breath of fresh air,” says Hague. “When I first heard their demos, I was taken by their song-craft and musicality. After a couple of introductory phone conversations with Thomas and James, I knew and said, ‘Buckle up boys, I’m joining the team.'”
Hague did, in fact, join the team—comprised of James Tabbi and Thomas Ferrara—to forge the collection of tracks they’ve collaborated on together.
Tabbi and Ferrara’s shared influences of Britpop, New wave, and Post-punk brought the duo together following celebrated solo efforts as recording artists, producers, composers, and multi-instrumentalists. Educated in computational mathematics and mathematical statistics, respectively, Tabbi and Ferrara’s musical efforts “deftly merge the intellectual and emotional,” as Post Punk writes, presenting a unique dichotomy that has now caught the attention of listeners around the world.