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Video of the Moment #2347: Hurts

 
By on Monday, 24th April 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Hurts have certainly been on an interesting journey since their 2010 debut album ‘Happiness’. With some reasonable certainty, I would have guessed that if they had continued on with their brand of synthpop unchanged as it was then, they’d would have also continued to be successful. But throughout their career, they’ve taken risks, such as turning things on its head as at the conclusion of their last album, 2015’s ‘Surrender’, reviewed here.

One thing that Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson have been able to use to full advantage all these years and without wavering is the medium of video, and their latest promo offering is no different. ‘Beautiful Ones’ is not beautiful at all, as it shows the ugliness of intolerance in the graphic attack of a drag queen. If you can’t stomach the actual visuals, I don’t blame you. But don’t miss the message through Hutchcraft’s vocals, which remind us all that it’s worth it to take a chance on love. Watch the video below. For more on Hurts on TGTF, follow this link.

 

Video of the Moment #1964: Hurts

 
By on Wednesday, 25th November 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson – Manchester dark electropop duo Hurts – released their third album ‘Surrender’ last month. (You can read my review of their new LP through this link.) It’s quite an interesting album, as it shows a definite evolution from their early origins with 2010’s ‘Happiness dark synthpop to a dancier, poppier, more mainstream direction. The song ‘Wings’ from the new album, however, is more in the vein of what one might consider the ‘classic’ Hurts sound: sweepingly beautiful, yet also breathy and anthemic.

I’ve chosen this video as the last video before we go on Thanksgiving break for a specific reason: as you watch the video for ‘Wings’ below, you’ll see the highs and the lows in the life of a musician, and some of their fans on YouTube I are interpreting the promo as being at least partly autobiographical about the rise and fall of Hutchcraft and Anderson’s own careers as part of Hurts. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of musicians’ lives, and more than just money and fame.

Even if you’re not a musician, there is a take home message here: stay grounded and more importantly, keep the ones you love close and treasure them. Given how our music community has been shattered because of recent events, I can’t imagine a better sentiment for right now than this. We’ll see you back here on Monday.

 

Album Review: Hurts – Surrender

 
By on Friday, 2nd October 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Hurts Surrender album cover“If this is love, why does it hurt so bad?”

When Hurts’ debut album ‘Happiness’ was released in 2010, it debuted at #4 on the UK albums chart. But in this post-Mac DeMarco lo-fi, slacker rock / post-Tame Impala psychedelic time in indie, are the music-buying public keen for a new album from Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson? Or maybe the better question to ask is if the same fans who bought their first two albums will like this new one?

They’ve certainly ticked off all the right boxes when it comes to personnel: in addition to working with long-time collaborator Swedish producer Jonas Quant, the Manchester duo enlisted heavy hitters Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers) and Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, We Are Scientists, Vampire Weekend) to lend their assistance in shaping ‘Surrender’. The result is a highly textured effort, having enough variety in pace and instrumentation to keep listeners on their toes and interest up. The album begins on an uplifting enough note: the title track soars with gospel singers vocalising against epic sounding synths and beats that have become Hurts’ trademark.

While the broody darkness Hutchcraft and Anderson so carefully cultivated for ‘Happiness’ (and again tapped into on 2013’s ‘Exile’ for songs like ‘The Road’) is evident if you’re paying close attention Hutchcraft’s vocals, the feeling of the first half of the album rhythmically is an upbeat one that may mask what’s lying underneath to the casual listener. On one hand, in a satisfying way, none of the songs early on in the tracklist of ‘Surrender’ ever register too low on the heartbeat monitor, making it wholly reasonable competition to the just-released second album from Disclosure, ‘Caracal’. On the other hand, an important question to ask is what exactly have they risked in these by going further into even more mainstream pop territory?

Aye, there are minor key synth progressions on ‘Nothing Will Be Bigger Than Us’ and Hutchcraft does an admirable job in making his voice soar during the breakdown, but the relentless beats sound so massive, there is no questioning their importance over anything else on this track. Another early reveal, ‘Lights’, sounds like the love child of Daft Punk slowed down and disco funk; the ‘Kaleidoscope’ “that keeps me spinning” appears to have been cut from the same cloth. ‘Perfect Timing’ takes the ’80s cliches of a saxophone solo and programmed drum beats but is clearly designed for the dance floor as well. If you’re a fan of the desperate love anthems as played out on their earlier single hits ‘Wonderful Life’ or ‘Sunday’, I can sense your concern amid these dance floor bangers.

The aptly named ‘Slow’ is a languid, sultry jam, oozing from beat to beat, with moments of Hutchcraft’s voice rising up in almost a shout – “I just want to love you, I just want to hold you close / what you’re doing here is murder, when you whip your body close“ – while pulling back to a softer timbre on the verses. It seems like the second half of ‘Surrender’ is a compromise, especially if you spring for the deluxe edition with three bonus tracks that include ‘Weight of the World’, with its industrial grinding sound like the most previous Hurts-esque effort of the new material. At the end of the album, ‘Wings’ is swiftly followed by ‘Wish’, both exhibiting the grandeur of the Hurts we first came to know 5 years ago. ‘Wings’, the non-dance standout of the album, spins a tale of fallen angels and the safety of a lover – “there’s a hole in my parachute as big as my heart / and the gravity is pulling me down / will you catch me when I fall? / wrap your wings around my body” – and it’s beautiful imagery.

If you do spring for the deluxe edition, your album will end with ‘Policewoman’, which from the outset seems like a strange title to close out an album on. It starts with organ notes, making is sound almost hymnal, and as the song progresses, it seems to be describing a woman with responsibility for keeping the mean streets clear of crime and hoodlums (“when I hear those sirens coming / my iron maiden’s running / to serve and protect my loving”). But it’s got to be more than that, to be about a higher power, something bigger, much as I think is the purpose of ‘Surrender’ as it ends with ominous clanking and what sounds like the words “from the pain” repeated. While they’ve evolved towards a dancier direction on the first half of this album, the second half reminds us that this is just one chapter of the ongoing story of Hurts. From their newest album, you just get the sense that there is so much more that they are destined for.

8/10

‘Surrender’, the third album from Manchester dark electropop duo Hurts, is out next Friday, the 9th of October, on Sony and will be available in regular and deluxe versions. The band have three live dates in the UK scheduled in February. For past coverage of Hurts on TGTF, including my review of the excellent first taster from the new album, ‘Some Kind of Heaven’, go here.

 

Hurts / February 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 15th September 2015 at 8:00 am
 

Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson – aka dark electropop duo Hurts – release their third album ‘Surrender’ on the 9th of October on Sony. While prior to June – when ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ hit our desks here at TGTF Towers – the pair had been quiet, it’s not surprising the PR machine has already ramped up for the third LP release.

This includes three live dates in the UK for frosty February 2016. A fan presale for these trio of dates starts tomorrow (Wednesday, the 16th of September) at 10 AM on the band’s official Web site. General sale follows on Friday, the 18th of September, at 10 AM. Have a listen to the latest taster from ‘Surrender’ to be unveiled’, ‘Slow’, in the embed below the tour dates.

Thursday 11th February 2015 – Glasgow Academy
Friday 12th February 2015 – Manchester Academy
Saturday 13th February 2015 – London Brixton Academy

 

Video of the Moment #1893: Hurts

 
By on Sunday, 30th August 2015 at 10:00 am
 

What are the odds that we’d have *two* bloody videos back to back for bank holiday weekend? I didn’t plan it like this, honest! First we had Gengahr‘s ‘Fill My Gums with Blood’, a song with a title just begging for that crimson bodily fluid to be pouring out in its promo.

But now in Hurts‘ new video ‘Lights’? Before we get there, though, there is plenty of dance floor posing ala Saturday Night Fever to go with the disco beats, and Theo Hutchcraft is wearing some very strange, high-waisted trousers. Then things start to get a lot violent…before Theo and his dancing partner head outside to London backstreets to start dancing as if they’re in Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. I guess the message is that vampires like to dance too? Uh, okay. Watch the promo below.

The video for the far superior ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ (in my opinion, anyway) can be watched on this previous In the Post. ‘Surrender’, the third album from Hurts, will be released on the 9th of October on Sony. For more Hurts on TGTF, go here.

 

In the Post #146: Hurts announce third album ‘Surrender’ and unveil first taster ‘Some Kind of Heaven’

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd June 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

From the last video off their second album ‘Exile’ released in 2013, it’s been quite some time since we’ve heard from Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson, aka London synthpop duo Hurts. So imagine me on a hot Sunday night when I’m minding my own business, scanning my Twitter feed, and my jaw drops to the floor when I’ve seen Hutchcraft drop the news that Hurts’ third album ‘Surrender’ is on its way in October. Oh, and by the way, in case you missed it a couple weeks ago, here’s the promo video to the first single ‘Some Kind of Heaven’, give it a go, eh?

As I hadn’t heard the single before watching the video, there’s no escaping commenting on the unusual and disturbing storyline of the video. The action focusses on a strange gathering in someone’s house, and while everyone seems to be drinking the same punch and is weirdly happy and placid, there’s definitely something off here, something straight out of Jonestown. Also included are scenes of Hutchcraft running down a dirt road, away from a speeding car – the automobile equivalent to the suspenseful crop-duster chase scenes Cary Grant endures in North by Northwest – and across a darkened forest with nothing to light the way except vehicle headlights trained on him, poised on his every move, as if he’s just escaped prison or a concentration camp. Unsettling. What’s even weirder is that for most of the house scenes, he’s inside the house being urged on by a creepy older man who appears to be the charismatic leader of this group, but the promo begins and ends with him looking on at the activities of the people in the house as if he’s detached from the proceedings.

Musically, the song is a step away from the anthemic overtones of ‘Somebody to Die For’ off of ‘Exile’. This is dark but still pure pop, written with the intention of being featured on Radio 1. To Hutchcraft’s credit, when you tease some of the lyrics away from the incredibly catchy melody, do do dos and the tribal rhythm of the bridge, they stand alone as pretty poetic: “I don’t need hell to make me scared of love / I don’t need a symphony to sing my song / there’s a choir of angels deep inside my lungs.” Heaven and hell are familiar themes to Hurts, having already broached the subject in earlier tearjerker ‘Sunday’, but the tragic end felt less forced and more beautiful in ‘Sunday’. Maybe ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ and its style are just symptomatic of the way pop music is going these days?

Still, damn, this is catchy. Welcome back, Hurts. You have been missed. Bring on the ‘Surrender’…

8/10

‘Surrender’, the third album from Hurts, will be released on the 9th of October on Sony. If you pre-order the album, you’ll get the single ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ as a download instantly. For past coverage on Hurts on TGTF over their last two albums, head this way.

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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