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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 10 September 2010
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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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 September 2010
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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on 19 September 2010
I've said for years now that music has been a more and more forgettable interest. The last time I heard just one song and was hooked enough to buy the album the very same day was Plan B's story led Deformation of Strickland Banks. An album where every song offered something unique, where filler songs simply did not exist.

And then not three days ago I heard THAT SKY HD ADVERT. You know the one. Everyone does. Portions of sky tv mixed with a song that literally took my breath away although it played for a mere few seconds. I felt that hook deep within me once more. It turned out to be an up and coming Mancunian band I'd not even heard of called very simply Hurts. I bought the album the very same day and have listened to it religously on my ipod and PC ever since. Aside from DoSB there's been no album that's made me do that for years and years.

From the hook line and sinker opener 'Silver Lining' that just envelopes you with a wash of everything you ever remembered about those 80's crooner bands that made hit after hit. Theo's vocal brilliance and a sense of truly something special unwrapping slowly before you is pretty much immediate.

'Wonderful life' begins very none urgently but soon builds up into an absolute fantastic anthem as soon as it hits the chorus. The synths fall in and you instantly find yourself singing along with the words by the time the second chorus comes around. Hurts are kings of the chorus. Kings on golden sculpted thrones. Replaced are the days when you'd simply listen to an album and learn the words after several listens. With Hurts if you don't know the chorus and some of the lyrics by the end then something is seriously wrong. The second version video contained in the ipod purchase is also amazing to watch.

'Blood, Tears and Gold' was at first not one I was keen to replay, it's slow paced and gentle on the ears to the extreme. Again however you will find yourself singing along to the chorus. Attempting to mimic Theo's sweet sultry tones as best you can, while not caring if you actually come close. It does start to sound like a song from some US romcom you'd rather not watch as it goes on and you can just imagine the trailer for it in your head. Still a great song.

Coming next is 'Sunday'. Or as I like to call it 'The Killers track'. And it is too. You could quite easily imagine the Killers in the video for this without question. There's also one other individual that it reminds me of in parts, and that is Shania Twain for some mental reason. So yeah, tack together The Killers and Shania and what you get is 'Sunday'. It's upbeat and confidet and is just very good at sounding both.

'Stay' was the song I saw partial clips of the video from without even knowing who the band was on tv one evening. It was only when I played the song on my ipod that it clicked the song I thought sounded great on tv was one and the same. From the very opening vocal you can tell this is going to build into something glorious. By this time you are starting to figure out how Hurts songs form and grow. And then those drums kick and and you just gasp. Vocals and drums and backing singers just bring it to life in an instant and you just want to turn your speakers up and consume it as loudly as possible. Again you will find yourself instantly singing along and perhaps even clapping as if part of a choir on a stage belting it out.

And next comes the real magic. The Sky HD song that started my love affair with all things Hurts. 'Illuminated' is about as haunting a song as you could possibly imagine, written by two fellows from manchester that just swirls and captures your imagination instantly. For such a short song (3 minutes tops) the emotions the chorus stirs within me is just beyond measure. It's one of those one time songs that just connects with you and says 'this is music you will forever love', 'this is you'. It's easily my favourite song on the album and I can't recommend enough to watch the live version posted on youtube with a real life tennor doing the backing vocals. It's even better than the jaw dropping studio version.

After 'Illuminated' you'd think the album would start to run out of steam somewhat. Instead it actually raises a notch in the form of 'Evelyn'. My second favourite song on the album leaps into the chorus with the promise of delivering so much more, and deliver it does. Vocals on this track are right up there even though the lyrcis themselves are so very slight. Hitting the halfway mark on 'Evelyn' your speakers just suddenly roar to life. Oh my god. Turn it up. This is amazing. You are left anticipating what's to come as the song explodes around you and just never lets up right until the very end. For sheer oomph and uncontrollable musical strength this is the song of the album for me. And I never dreamed that would be posslbe after the beauty of 'Illuminated'. It was so unexpected but oh so welcome at the same time.

Hurts takes a musical diversion with 'Feels Better than Love' which wouldn't be out of place on a Saturday night in a club blaring out to hundreds of people. There's a definite 80's throwback feel here, oh look I'm half way through the album and only just mentioned the term 'the 80's. The influence is obvious, but this is the 80's revisited and repackaged for an entirely old and new generation alike. It's a fun song.

Ah Kylie. 'Devotion' brings together Hurts and Miss Minogue in sweet, sweet unison. After hearing that she'd been involved with one song on the album I just couldn't get it in my head how Kylie and Hurts would meld together. In any form or fashion. But my god do they pull it off. The song is siimply perfect for Kylie's sultry sexy vocal tones combined with Theo's. It carries you into a song that showcases Hurts own need for musical diversity, here's that word again building into a marching methodic song that is simply amazing.

Theo has captured my heart with his vocal range. I'm sure he has us all. Every word rings true, every vocal offered sounds undeinably sincere and meaningful. Not many singers can deliver on that, and continue to do so on each and every song he performs. This is one song I won't sing along with for fear of doing Theo a direct injustice by drowing out his sublime voice as trickles, and dips and comes and goes in waves. 'Unspoken' constantly keeps you lingering for more, and 3 minutes in it brings you into a world of majestic strings and lovingly pulsating rythm. If ever the quality of the albums production came into play, this song is where it shines the brightest.

Finally we have 'The Water'. A song you can imagine sung to a smokey crowd with just a man and a piano, delivered with absolute conviction and stunning beauty. Theo almost brings me to tears during this song, his voice is so perfect in its abundance of meaningfullness. As if he's singing directly to some lost love sat in the crowd. And that lost love is you.

Theo and Adam I not only welcome but celebrate your arrival. You have litterally single handedly given a glorious rebirth to my practically dead musical interest and I cannot thank either of you enough for it. After my first listen through the album the only thing that hurt was my pride for my hometown of Manchester.

I shall never regret buying this album as long as I live.
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on 18 October 2010
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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on 8 September 2010
Despite all the hype that has surrounded this band recently and the slightly underwhelming single "Wonderful Life", I decided to buy the album. It has been the best purchase I have made so far this year and to say that I am pleasantly surprised would be an understatement! "Happiness" is packed full of wonderful melodies, fantastic vocals and great lyrics and gets better each time I listen to it. It is so refreshing to hear the return of quality synth-pop and although it is reminiscent of '80s artists such as Depeche Mode, A-Ha and Pet Shop Boys (my all-time favourite band), it has a very contemporary sound to it. My only criticism would be that some of the lyrics would be better if they were gender-ambiguous to add a bit of mystery but all in all, this is an album that will appeal to lovers of quality pop music young and old. A must-have!
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on 14 September 2010
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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on 9 September 2010
i heard hurts single wonderful life a while back and instantly loved it reminding me off the beloved,depeche mode and mostly pet shop boys at their most melancholy.so looking forward to the debut and it's good ,very good in fact but my only problem is that better than love aside - which has the euphoric sound of late 80's era depeche mode aside most of the tracks sound the same,devotion with kyle minogue is the only other song thats standing out just now,maybe the rest will grow on me.still a fine debut and for once one that lives up to most of the hype.
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on 5 March 2014
Have owned this album since it first came out and it's still getting regular plays (particularly by my partner). The 80s synth sound is what the album is about so why criticise it. Great tunes which get the foot tapping and a coup to get Kylie involved. I have seen the band twice (first in 2010) when they were very much like the Pet Shop Boys with the suit and standing centre stage BUT then saw them again in Limehouse London last year and boy have they moved on with the live act. Strong rocking performance with full band supporting them - brilliant.
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on 22 October 2010
I discovered recently Hurts, of course by listening Wonderful life, so I decided to buy this album. It has great songs, reminding of the 80's. My personal opinion is that they sound a little like Camouflage. Buy it....you won't regret it!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 1 December 2011
I remember the exact moment I first heard this album, where I was, where I was sitting - looking at the TV, bored. Then on comes another advert but I don't realise it's an advert for a new album until about five seconds in. Why? Because I'm too busy listening to and marvelling at the music!!! It was the chorus of 'Wonderful Life'. I decided then and there to buy it just on the basis of that one sound clip. I don't usually do that, it's not logically sound. But this band are so good they defy logic.

Basically, every track is either an instant classic or very near. It's hard-hitting anthemic electronic pop music at its very best with real musicality at its core. What makes it all the more exciting is that the songs are the creation of two men so young. These guys are clever and able producers as well as gifted composers.

I have not been so excited by a new album and band for many years. They've appeared like a flash of lightning. I am now waiting on the edge of my seat for the next album and hoping I won't be too disappointed when it inevitably won't be the same album!
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