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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (Pssss) come back ... It's rather quite good ... honest.
To criticise them for being too 80's is like criticising Oasis for sounding too much like the Beatles. Yes I agree their look and to a degree their sound is unashamedly distinctively retro, but is that so wrong? If so 80% of top 40 these days would be empty slots.

Every now and again an act comes along that divides opinion, "they shouldn't be doing that" indie...
Published on 10 Sept. 2010 by Travis Bickle

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated synth-angst
A couple of the tracks, including the only bona fide UK hit Wonderful Life which itself harks back to an 80s top ten hit by Black, are very polished and listenable but the rest tire easily. Shame.
Published on 5 Jan. 2013 by phatboi


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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (Pssss) come back ... It's rather quite good ... honest., 10 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
To criticise them for being too 80's is like criticising Oasis for sounding too much like the Beatles. Yes I agree their look and to a degree their sound is unashamedly distinctively retro, but is that so wrong? If so 80% of top 40 these days would be empty slots.

Every now and again an act comes along that divides opinion, "they shouldn't be doing that" indie snobs, journalists included, it was the same when Keane released their debut 'Hopes & Fears' in the mid 00's, Coldplay too have taken a pounding over the last few years for being too dull, not rock'n' roll or "of the moment". When you have tunes to back up what you're doing, so what?, just stick two fingers up and carry on, that exactly what `Hurts' have done and done it brilliantly.

This album is flamboyant, massively over the top, power ballad pop but you can't deny it's an impressive debut. It's an album that will have the Coldplay effect for sure, certain types will destroy it down the pub with their mates, but once back home, secretly it will be the first thing they'll play on the i-pod docking station.

The Pet Shop Boys comparison has also been made, I think after listening to this CD, Neil & Chris must look within and shake their heads in great disappointment. It's the music they should have made about 5 albums back.

Just give it a try, it won't Hurt(s)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely Fantastic :-), 18 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
I have absolutely no clue why this album is taking a bit of a beating with the critics. Who cares if it sounds similar to other artists from the past. If we all thought like that then we wouldn't see or hear anything ever again as, lets face it, almost everything we encounter has been done before.

This album is truely awesome. Every song feels epic. These guys have obviously put in so much effort to make something different.

I for one give this album 10/10, there isn't a single song I don't like.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solemn Splendours, 12 Sept. 2010
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
Question : Are Hurts as good as they want us to think they are?
This Manchester duo have not had the warmest of welcomes
from many in the music press. In some ways it seems to have
become almost cool not to like them. I beg to differ.

This is certainly pop on a grand scale. A hugely ambitious debut
and on this evidence the stars these two lads are reaching for are
eminently graspable. That the eighties have left their mark on the
music is self-evident but to get bogged-down in comparisons would
be to miss the point of these eleven magnificently crafted songs.
(Singer Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson are, in all probability,
both far too young for that decade to have been much more than a
misty uncertainty beyond the borders of their carry-cots anyway!)
Taken on its own merits a composition such as 'Blood, Tears & Gold',
as just one example, is as good as anything we are likely to hear this
side of Christmas and beyond. Its confidence is mind-boggling.

Mr Hutchcraft has a really lovely voice. Solid in the centre and with
a wonderful ring at the top. It is clear that he was born to sing.
His performances on 'Sunday' and 'Stay' lift what, in other hands,
might have been mediocre and cliched inventions into scintillating
pop anthems so uplifting they both made me laugh out loud!

The overall sound of the production is BIG but not undigestible.
A song like 'Evelyn' teeters perilously on the edge of bathos
but survives the sonic excess due to the strength of the lyrical
and thematic material. Make no mistake Messrs Hutchcraft and
Anderson understand how to craft a good tune.

Ms Minogue's presence on 'Devotion' (another cracking song) is a
somewhat odd but benign contribution which ultimately does no harm.

For my money 'Unspoken' is the finest moment in a strong collection.
An epic arrangement which never overwhelms its joyful melodic heart.

Hurts seem to have made both friends and enemies with 'Happiness'.
This Old Wolf is happy to come down on the side of comradeship!

Highly Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 2 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
First heard of this band when 'Sky TV' used their song 'Illuminated' as part of their trailer for their HD services.

I decided to buy this album after hearing this, and have not been disappointed.

There is no song that I don't like, which is a welcome change from most albums that I buy that only have one or two songs I actually want to listen to!

Recommend this for anyone that likes 'chillout' style music such as Morcheeba.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Hurts!, 18 Nov. 2010
By 
Karen Tiley (Cambridge, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
I love, love, love this album! Perhaps it's partly because I was a teenager in the 80's and there is a nostalgic note to the Hurts sound, but it has a freshness too. The music has a big, anthemic quality which can grab you in the pit of the stomach: bet you can't resist racking up the volume. It's melodic, stirring and accessible, which should appeal to a huge age-range of listeners. This is just great pop music.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this music grows in your soul, 14 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
This is the first album that catches my attention and have a deep impact to my feelings. I never thought I will be hearing something like this before. These boys HURTS they made me feel like I live 80's although I was just a kid that time I always wanted to live my 20's that time. Every single has a meaning and the lyrics are totally different than what you hear these days. The whole album is great and highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Synth-Pop Album Harking Back to the Eighties, 18 Dec. 2014
By 
Bill (England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
I've been a lover of synth-pop for the last thirty years or so, going right back to my teenage years.
Back in the eighties I was buying lots of music by the likes of Human League, OMD, Ultravox, Visage, Soft Cell, Blancmange, Thomas Dolby, Naked Eyes, Depeche Mode, Paul Haig, Heaven 17, China Crisis - all supremely gifted artists, with a love of synthesisers and drum machines.
In more recent years, I've followed artists like Goldfrapp, Royksopp, Filthy Dukes, Pete Lunn, Feneche Soler and Friendly Fires, all of whom are equally gifted electro-pop artists.
This well-crafted, fabulous synth-pop album from Hurts, can comfortably hold its own with any of the works from the aforementioned bands. The lead singer has a silky smooth vocal, he reminds me a little of Steve Strange from Visage, only this singer's voice is nicer. There's a combination of wonderful power-pop ballads - Silver Lining and Blood, Tears and Gold are stand-out songs - with a few more up-tempo dance-floor tunes. I don't think that there's a single duff track on the whole album.
I'd rate this as one of the five best synth-pop albums of the last few years, alongside the following brilliant works by Filthy Dukes, Royksopp, Goldfrapp and Pete Lunn - Nonsense in the Dark, The Inevitable End, Head First,Peachland.
If you need a wonderful pair of headphones to maximise your enjoyment of electro-pop music, I can do no better than recommend the brilliant Sennheiser Momentum - Sennheiser Momentum 1.0 On-Ear Headphones - Ivory.
You can demo these headphones in a John Lewis store, I suggest that you listen to the two following tracks by Royksopp and OMD when having the demo, and if you're not reaching for your wallet there and then, I'd be surprised - I Had This Thing, The Future Will Be Silent.
If you're looking for a first rate pair of in-ear 'phones to enjoy your synth-pop music, I can highly recommend the very stylish Vibe Brass Balls - you need to go to the Vibe Audio website to view that product.
If you need a superior portable Bluetooth speaker, I can happily endorse the excellent Denon Envaya - Denon Envaya Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Black.
Finally, if you're in the market for a Bluetooth speaker for the home, which can double up as a surround sound system, I can strongly recommend the Mission Aero speaker - I had to buy mine from Selfridges in London because most stockists seem to sell out very rapidly. It has sublime audio quality and packs a very big punch, you'd soon fall out with your neighbours if you played this speaker at even half the noise level it can reach. It gives simply astounding performance when you listen to it using your ipod, ipad or iphone, etc, although it is somewhat less effective when hooked up to your T.V.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurts - Happiness, 29 Aug. 2011
By 
N. Wilson "nigel-wilson" (Bristol, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
My first reaction to Hurts was to find the snooze button as quickly as possible and shut them up. I thought them to be very dull; I'm not going to lie. But I was determined to understand why my friends and favourite music bloggers were so keen on them, and so I persevered before falling in love.

They album, ironically titled "Happiness" is actually one of the finest bodies of work to be released this year. An epic collection of very grand pop-music, with electronic- and synthonic instrumentation, soaring vocals and deliciously dark lyrics- they've a touch of The Pet Shop Boys about them, whilst also sounds suspiciously like a British take on the one-album American act The Postal Service, whilst maintaining a sound for themselves which is almost wholly unique to my ears.
There are some jaw-droppingly good tracks on this album- `Wonderful Life' clashes a wonderfully dark story with an ever-optimistic outlook, whilst epic power ballad `Stay' hurls itself from the albums middle regions with deep longing and insane power and `Devotion' is unspeakably lush in its rich harmonies and wondrous rhythmic drumming. Despite loving this tracks and the others in equal measure, `Sunday' remains my firm favourite on this album- up-tempo and incredibly catchy, matched with further longing and perfect sing-a-long-ability, the track is a triumphant effort amongst the more epic-balladness of the rest of the album.

The album is overwhelming- I think that's possibly what put me off at first. You know when you meet someone new and they're an oversharer and it puts you off them? Well I think that's what this album did to me- it overwhelmed me with its insane power and deep, lustrous longing which shied me away from the album. It took two full listens of the album with a cup of tea and some ginger loaf before I became enveloped by its utter richness and their incredible charm- their slick imagery and solemn faces seen on the album's cover are really a fabulous representation of what you can expect from this album- slick, beautifully arranged and written music with amazing vocals, matched with poetic, gripping and emotive lyrics. I think one of the things that captivates me about this album is that one rarely hears men baring their souls as blatantly as happens on this album, which makes it a hugely refreshing affair.

It took me a while to get here, but Hurts' album "Happiness" is an absolutely outstanding album and positive favourite of mine- not just of 2011 but possibly of the last few years, if not ever. Each track is of an outstanding quality with excellently crafted instrumentation, beautiful and poignant lyrics and wonderful vocals- there is nothing not to like about Hurts of this album and highly recommend you too sit down with a cup of tea and slice of ginger loaf - or cake of your choice - and allow the waves of purely brilliant musicianship wash over you. Wonderful stuff- I highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many comparisons but just let the music flow and ENJOY IT., 28 Feb. 2011
By 
A. J. Sturgess "Alan Sturgess" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
Again and again Hurts reviewers make comparisons with Europop, New Romantics, The Pet Shop Boys and so on ... and on ... and on.

So, OK, let's take all that on the chin rather than decry or rubbish their comments and agree that Hurts music does indeed contain elements of them all. But let's also give this duo the credit they deserve and acknowledge that their music is fabulously catchy, enjoyable and ---- dare I say it? ---- stuffed to the gills with wonderful melodies and anthemic choruses.

Theo Hutchcraft can REALLY sing. He has a voice that soars freely across every synth riff or synthesised orchestra. And lets also give equal credit to Adam Anderson whose synth work, arrangements and rhythmic invention surpasses pretty well everything ever created by PSB, Depeche Mode or their imitators.

If the track 'Sunday' doesn't make you at least sway to and fro or leap up and down and want to dance towards the clouds, then I have more than a measure of sympathy for you. This song (and most of the album) is pure joyfulness with just an occasional hint of melancholy or strangeness to add depth and added dimensions.

Even though many tracks follow the pattern of quiet intros which swell either gradually or suddenly into thunderous anthems, there is also evidence of an enticing willingness to experiment with changes in timbre, style and soundscapes. The songs 'Illuminated' and 'Evelyn' are examples. Only the other day I was listening to a few records made in the late 60's and early 70's when there was often massive experimentation in singles and LP's (some succeeded; some didn't). For a long time I have feared that those days had passed in the realm of popular music but Hurts have given me hope. They never go too far and could even be accused of playing it safe, but their willingness to at least start treading a few soundpaths which veer away from the boringly familiar wailing and repetitive rhythms of modern music is truly welcome and enhancing.

I do have one very personal gripe ... I really dislike the overdone cliche of a final track which SEEMS to end and then after 60-90 seconds of silence suddenly starts up again. This happens with track 11 ('The Water'). It dies away at 3.37 and then, after some synthesised hiss and sound effects, it starts up again at 5.00.

Even so, despite what to my ears is a flawed and derivative way to finish, this CD is still a magical success, so I'll not be picky and will freely admit to a feeling of happiness as I award it 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Know true Happiness this year, 11 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Happiness (Audio CD)
I started hearing things about this Mancunian duo Hurts back in the spring. I came across their website and took them up on their offer of a free download of the forthcoming single Better Than Love. Wow! This song had so much going for it and I was blown away. From then on I signed up to the email newsletter, fanned them on Facebook and that was it really. For the first time in years, I was really looking forward to buying the album and seeing them live. They haven't disappointed.

Happiness is a very strong album and an exceptional debut. This is no ordinary release; blood, sweat, tears and many years of committed work have gone into this and you can tell. Whilst it sounds superbly layered, you aren't left with the impression that it's laboured. Hurts' music has more than a small amount of drama and no small ration of passion either. Given that synth-based musics are often decried as being soulless, cold etc, this is an album of fine emotion and some brilliant songwriting. Hurts are exactly what we need right now; they can seize the moment and be of the zeitgeist. Duos are by nature a different beast than bands: two people working together has a different dynamic and intensity than
a four or five-piece unit. It's interesting to see from the credits that Theo
and Adam thank each other. The Department of Work & Pensions also get thanked!

They're brave too: opening with the mid-tempo but uplifting Silver Lining before the clock-ticking intro to (the wonderful) Wonderful Life, as great a pop song as you'll hear this year. Like all fine pop songs, Wonderful Life has a narrative; the redemption of a stranger saving someone from suicide, of someone coming back from the edge, quite literally. It's a masterpiece and deserved to be a bigger hit than it was as a single.

The climactic, lovelorn ballad Blood, Tears and Gold engages you with its vast melacholy before you're lead into the upbeat brilliance of Sunday; a song of separation, hope and longing. To describe the next song (and forthcoming single)
Stay as anthemic is to understate it: Theo Hutchcraft's angelic upper range really comes out here and I'd say it should be a big hit in the lead-up to Christmas if there is any justice.

From here we are uplifted once more by Illuminated before the epic sweep of Evelyn
which builds and builds before roaring back in, massive choirs, a huge beat and strings picking you up on an enourmous wave of sound. They don't let up here as Better Than Love keeps you up there and it's only when Devotion appears that the tempo slows again. Kylie's vocals are fine on this; setting exactly the right mood. This would make a great fourth single.

The final two/three songs are no less impressive, Unspoken being the tale of a finished (and possibly clandestine) relationship with the aching sadness of a lyric that says "I'd rather be lonely than be by your side...". It takes a lot to admit that.

The Water closes the album, Theo's plaintive voice perfectly reflecting Adam Anderson's superb piano and strings accompaniment. A ninety-second silent gap preceeds an excellent if brief secret track, Verona, an empassioned operatic vocal fading the album at its conclusion.

Bravo, Hurts. Più per favore!
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Happiness by Hurts (Audio CD - 2010)
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