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
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.