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Hurts for TUSH Magazine

March 8, 2010

This is a piece that I wrote about the oddly cold-war era boy band Hurts for the February issue of TUSH, a high fashion magazine based in Germany. They keep putting up and taking down videos (as of writing this their MySpace player is suspiciously void of music), which I’m guessing is some clever marketing scheme to keep us on our toes. Shortlisted for the BBC Sound of 2010, it’s refreshing to see some enigmatic testorone trying out for a place in pop right now. It really feels like it’s been a while…

After the endless reviews of not only the previous year but the passing decade, our fickle attention spans have already turned 180 degrees towards the ‘hot list’ for 2010.  In among the inevitable guitar bands or the carbon copies of 2009’s electro females, is an act that looks like they’ve been cut from another era and, much to their dismay, paste straight into a decade almost 30 years past their prime.

The hype is all built on one glorious single, ‘Wonderful Life’ and it’s accompanying video – so starkly monochrome and controlled, it’s like Leni Riefenstahl directed Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’. The duo from Manchester, Theo Hutchcraft (vocals) and Adam Anderson (synth/guitar), stare intently ahead with slicked and side-parted hairdos, sombre faces and an impeccably tailored sense of style, like gaunt, European versions of David Byrne.

As heavily stylised as their appearance, ‘Wonderful Life’ is a slow, molten synth affair with dark, industrial undertones reminiscent of Depeche Mode and the melancholy appeal of Joy Division. A saxophone solo pours grandiose emotion all over the track, just the right amount of overt richness. But before anyone can get too carried away with their own interpretations, a link on Hurts’ Myspace page takes us to the Wikipedia entry for Disco Lento. Hutchcraft and Anderson are making no secret of the heavy doses of inspiration they’ve taken from this Italo-centric type of electronica meaning slow disco (also known as Lento Doloroso or slow and painful).

Already signed to Biff Staffard’s Major Label label, the man responsible for Little Boots and Kylie Minogue, the indie appeal of Hurts runs about as deep as the pomade that keeps their hair so rigidly stuck to the sides of their heads. But that almost adds to the beauty of them, so more true of their early 80’s posturing. The time when the pretensions of art-obsessed post-punkers slowly began seeping into the mainstream, when even Byrne himself was ‘Burning Down The House’ of the pop charts. Singing about ‘crying into leather seats’ and kisses that ‘burn like fire’, the over-emotional ‘Wonderful Life’ sits pretty on the lips of two English boys dressed like 1920’s Berlin socialites.

Injecting a new edge and masculinity into male-fronted pop, a genre that has been struggling to keep abreast of its female counterparts, Hurts are at the beginning of a show that is definitely worth watching.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2010 11:10 am

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I use part of your post in my blog too?

  2. March 13, 2010 1:01 am

    I really like your template, its simple but easy on the eyes and easy to navigate was it a paid or free template?

  3. March 14, 2010 7:54 pm

    Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

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