Friday, 10 September 2010

Hurts - Happiness (2010)

Something The Guardian and Q magazine might want to be aware of is that Hurts are not simply aimed at bored and life-weary Pet Shop Boys fans – to me that is all attitude and no analysis. Compulsively crafted, the songs on debut album Happiness are listenable enough to warrant a seriously rushed Diva Incarnate review.

Haunting opener Silver Lining recalls the dark chills of Black Celebration era Depeche Mode. Its death-topia is seductive, like putting the ‘fun’ in funeral. The perfect punctuations on Wonderful Life create synth-guitar par excellence. Blurring into focus, Blood Tears & Gold is the year’s best song that should be a Christmas number one. The juiced-up Sunday’s cushiony electro-dance elegance draws me into their intense fantasia effortlessly. It is my favourite song all week.

With lyrics so emotional they don’t even need to rhyme, Stay is an orchestral ballad, tense and furrowed. Despite a chorus N-Sync would have sold their purity rings for, Illuminated traffics the same techno-perfect economy as the stunning Wonderful Life. The dramatic Evelyn’s chorus stands out, earning an authentic aura of gloom.

Like a voice of backed-out disaster, the more aggressive Better Than Love has baggage on wheels. I miss the extra seconds shaved off the album version. Addled, ambitious, thudding beats and not without gusto, it’s magnetic brawl carries the number. Special respect goes to these guys for getting a decent vocal out of Kylie Minogue on Devotion (her best since Confide In Me and Put Yourself In My Place all those years ago): her euphoric purr is actual Viagra, gasping like rising to the surface in an ocean of trancey elation. Piano-ambience of Leave It Unspoken is liquid beauty. After-hours torch ballad Water drips to a close. Hidden beauty Verona is a minor masterpiece.

The aesthetic obsession of Hurts is worth all the suffering. The command of melody, groove and melancholy is proof enough they are the band everyone seems to be saying they are: an album where everything stands out.



On another note: if you read this blog regularly you may have noticed a slower traffic of posts appearing; I am now fully back at university so will make a commitment to post at least 1 review a week (on a Sunday). I won’t be giving up blogging, and this figure is merely to maintain a minimum regularity so you will know when to expect new ‘material’ and not have to waste your time or wonder what is happening.


Mike said...

People keep suggesting I check this out but Wonderful Life makes me want to kill myself. Is the rest any better?

Diva Incarnate said...

Well I'll send you it later tonight, but try youtube-ing Sunday (it's like a Killers song - I don't know if that's a bad thing for you). It's very ballad heavy, but Devotion has Kylie: you know how I much I think she gets such ridiculous praise for being average these days, but she sounds ravishing with her little cameo. I'll send after my work, but all the songs ough to be on youtube I am sure. To me, they are a bit like Depeche Mode but sadly without anything remotely sex-tinged, it's all a bit 'suicide' like you say:)

Yuяi said...

Love love love HURTS! Fantastical of the year's best imho!