They consist of singer Theo Hutchcraft and instrumentalist Adam Anderson. Being popular on Blogs though, doesn't necessarily translate to commercial success. Making and marketing an album like Happiness is a bit of a risk today. We are living in the age of the Digital Single - a song catches fire (often virally) and the public downloads it - legally of course - helping propel it to chart success. Although this is a beautiful and thoughtfully-produced collection, there are no "Singles" on it. Hurts does not make radio-friendly music, they create an emotional experience.
Happiness is cohesive. From the get-go on Silver Lining, they dictate that the mood for the next little bit of a listen will be melancholy, introspective. Current single Wonderful Life, Blood Tears and Gold and Illuminated, take us back to an era when U2 didn't suck - a time when none of us would've predicted that Tears for Fears' run of chart success would one day end and Depeche Mode was still a mainstream force. Sunday is one of the few brighter moments on the album striking that magical chord of sorrowful lyrics about emotional longing and disco rhythms - odd on paper, but it has built the career of many an influencial pop star like Robyn. Stay in my opinion is the strongest track on the album - a plea for love backed by a Gospel Choir. How could one deny that?
First single Better Than Love which was unfairly overlooked by many, is unmistakably Duran Duran. Also, it is uncannily similar to Meck ft. Dino's smash Feels Like Home which even Madonna has interpolated live in her performances with Ray of Light. Devotion ft. Kylie Minogue will do wonders for the duo in terms of exposure but alas, the Pop Icon herself gets lost in the plodding track.
This album is a finely-tuned first effort from a duo with a world of promise and talent. Something about their aesthetic and image tells me that they may well be equally adept at delivering live also. Hurts' Happiness is available in the UK on September 6, 2010 through RCA Records. No stateside release date has been set, although there are plans to tour this fall. Grade: A-