If you’re not a fan of pop music, don’t even glance at Hurts. The impeccable pop ethos they adhere to will burn holes in your eyes and ears. We’re talking classic pop here, not odd or indie, but the East 17 by way of Take That with a touch of electro type of pop. Add the monochrome visage and pierced ear of singer Theo Hutchcraft and you soon realise Hurts are a band on a mission. Luckily the songs exceed the imagery.
Hutchcraft has the silky smooth vocals of the 80s and 90s finest frontmen, flitting from falsetto to operatic baritone on Illuminated and lustfully crooning in dancefloor killer Better Than Love. The themes are simple; tossing between love, lust and sex with plenty of metaphors at hand.
At times the combined prowess of Hutchcraft and synth player Adam Anderson touches on the more downbeat ends of Scissor Sisters, thus making it unsurprising when Kylie pops in for a beautifully placed cameo on Devotion, a masterful contrast created between the sweet thinness of her voice and the deep boom of Hurts.
Wonderful Life opens with minimal instrumentation and Hutchcraft’s acapella before the chorus’ body-invading percussion backs the words of ‘Don’t let go/never give up it’s such a wonderful life.’ Even the inclusion of saxophone is welcome instead of cringeworthy. At times the melodramatic lyricism is taken too far, see Evelyn, but it’s a small flaw.
Hurts could easily have been the latest in a long line of contrived pop-pretending-to-be-indie bands, but their dedication to a unique brand of emotional electro pop proves them to be a promising duo.