- Audio CD (6 Sept. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: RCA
- ASIN: B00383UJ2U
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 177 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,337 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Debut album from Manchester-based duo Theo Hutchcraft (vocals) and Adam Anderson (guitars, synths), which includes singles "Better Than Love" and "Wonderful Life" as well as Kylie on "Devotion".
There’s the monochrome cover shot, the duo wearing suits and haughty scowls; above it, a one-word title that seems arch, even ironic, in this context; and then, there’s the presence of Kylie Minogue. Tonight, Matthew, are Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson the Pet Shop Boys, actually?
Well, not quite. There are moments throughout, a synth line here or a drum beat there, when Neil and Chris could have climbed into the stereo. But the same could be said of any number of melancholy 80s popstrells who weren’t averse to DX7 chordage and were suspicious of real percussion. Happiness is almost as retro as Roland Rat in a Frankie t-shirt eating a Wispa, but far, far more elegant.
If there’s one epithet to describe this album, it’s "grandiose". No opportunity is spared to slip in a choir (in the Black-esque opener Silver Lining they could be rehearsing Mozart’s Requiem) or a chorus that demands a flame thrower. Which, when the result is current single Wonderful Life, or their debut Better Than Love, which should be subtitled "not to mention sex, fine wines, and much of the charts this week", is a very good idea indeed. The latter, with its frantically arpeggiating keyboards and Tears for Fears bassline, plus enough drama to have its own show and more pomp than Elgar on loop, should, by rights, have done a Bryan Adams instead of languishing at number 50.
But while theatricality and a brooding demeanour also make Sunday, a power-dressed Europop floor-filler that channels early Depeche Mode and the PSB, and Stay (think rain and gospel singers) hits in waiting, they aren’t quick fixes for ropey writing. "So stay with me Evelyn / Don’t leave me with the medicine / In the night" (Evelyn) might make you giggle more with a triumphal new romantic orchestra surging behind it, but it’s unlikely that’s what the Manchester boys intended. Kylie, meanwhile, has grounds to take offence, having been given the turgid Devotion – surely a lost Bosnia & Herzegovina Eurovision entry – to guest on.
Style and gravitas are all very well – if Hurts could also have been consistent with the substance, Happiness would have trounced its 80s counterparts and many of its contemporaries, too.--Alix Buscovic
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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)
I listen to it daily, it never gets boring. Normally on an album I tend to skip songs that I don't like as much, not with this one. Every song is well written, sung, performed! The Water is a beautiful song to end this amazing album.
I can't wait for their next album!
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!
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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