CD Title: Exile
Label: Sony UK
Those "pretty boys" from across the pond known as Hurts are back!
Hurts are an English synthpop duo who's debut album, Happiness, released in September 2010, reached the top ten in twelve European countries, and has sold over one million copies worldwide.Hurts proves that not only was the 80's an incredible decade for music, but also one of great depth and substance, as can be seen and heard within their music.
In 2010, Hurts seemingly dropped out of the sky and onto the pop and dance charts with unforgettable hits like" Wonderful Life", "Stay", "Sunday" and "Better Than Love" which incidentally all became instant club hits as well.
Their debut CD Happiness was an incredible success. The album entered the UK album charts at Number 4 with over 25,000 sales, making Hurts the fastest selling new band of 2010 in the UK. It reached over 2 million sales, earning 14 top 10 iTunes positions on the way, including Number 1's in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Luxembourg. It has now been officially certified Gold in the UK and Austria, and double platinum in Germany and Finland, as well as platinum in Poland, Switzerland, and Russia. They sold over 250,000 tickets throughout their live shows and the band has also sold more than one million singles worldwide. For those of you who haven't heard of Hurts, you are missing out on something really quite wonderful.
The Hurts story began in the streets of Manchester late one night in in 2005, when vocalist Theo Hutchcraft and synthesist Adam Anderson met in a rather strange and unexpected way. Who would have thought that a fight outside of a pub involving their friends would lead them to meet, team up musically and only a few short years later, be rocketed into super stardom? They got together soon after and started the band Bureau. They were signed to independent record label High Voltage Sounds. They released their first double A-side single "After Midnight"/"Dollhouse" which was made "Single of the Week" on Xfm. In 2007, Bureau disbanded and soon after formed the band Daggers. They signed to Label Fandango and released another double A-side single, "Money"/"Magazine", which despite failing to chart, was nominated for the Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize. In January of 2009, Daggers broke up and they soon became Hurts. After making a rather amateur video for their single "Wonderful Life" they uploaded the video to their YouTube channel. Like wildfire, the video raged across the Internet. Almost immediately they were swooped up and signed to RCA Records The video has since had over 21 million views on YouTube, putting it in the Top 200 Most Watched Videos in the history of the website!
As the boys were discovering their rather unique sound, they were highly influenced by a new sound called "disco-lento" (slow disco), that they discovered on a trip to Italy. Soon their trademark sound would be comprised of 80's synthpop infused with strong melodies, dramatic vocals and an often moody and melancholic atmosphere. . Hurts describes the somber tone of their songs as "hope being snatched from the jaws of despair". Theo explains it best "personally we've both experienced extreme elation in equal measures with inconsolable despair, All you do is hope and keep going".
Their fast paced pop star lives and intense touring schedules, came with a heavy price. The boys almost passed out from stress and exhaustion in the last leg of the tour in 2011. After taking a short, but much needed vacation, the boys were once again back to work writing their next hit album. The pressure was on, as they had to reformulate their ideas and even their writing style. The first album "Happiness" was written on piano and mostly over the Internet. Their new album "Exile" was written by guitar, and they moved into a flat together for six months so they could properly write. Theo & Adam explain the trials and tribulations of writing the Exlie album "those first few months when we started writing this album we were very focused. We had to be. We had two bedrooms, a studio and a kitchen and that’s it. So each day we woke up, we worked until we fell asleep and then we went to bed.” It was six months in that flat every single day, six days a week. We did it until we went mental again, basically, which is the only way we know how to work: we do it until we feel like we’re losing our mind because then we know we’ve done our best. The most miserable I ever feel is writing music: genuinely. I mean the most happy I feel is writing music but if we’re not careful… it’s not healthy at all.”
Though touring proved to be strenuous, frustrating and tiresome for these hard working men, it also helped them gain some much needed insight into which of their songs worked best and why. They wanted their second album Exile to be faster, more punchy and exciting. Both Adam & Theo were highly influenced by industrial music..Theo: “We talked about industrial music a lot and how to make it, because that was the sort of music we listened to over the last two or three years, stuff like Nine Inch Nails and all that. We learnt that a long time ago that you can’t just copy music you like: you can only make the music you make, essentially. So how you can listen to ‘The Downward Spiral’ and capture parts of that and put it in to what we do. There was a great control and coldness in the first one that we captured, but we wanted to be a bit dirtier, and fuzzier, and wilder this time.”
I think that Hurts idea of "industrial" and most people's idea of industrial would strongly differ. Though one thing is clear with their new album Exile, is that although they have remained in familiar calm waters, they have added several more upbeat tracks to Exile than they had in their previous album "Happiness. Often compared to the likes of such synthpop pioneers as Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, and Tears For Fears, one listen and you will find that Hurts has a very unique style all of their own. Fans of their more electronic, upbeat side, like myself, will delight in such dance floor ready, tasty synth poppers like "Only You", "Cupid", "The Rope", and "Heaven". As promised and mentioned earlier, Exile offers a much harder,darker and rockier feel than it's earlier predecessor Happiness. Exile's Cimmerian charm, embody a more desperate and dramatic edge, that does remind one of Nine Inch Nails " The Downward Spirial". If you have come to love their beautiful but majestic power ballads, there is more than enough here for you to savor as you devour a box of Kleenex tissues.
To sum up. Exile is a bold and brash, clever little album, laden with strong emotional pop ballads, ambient yet atmospheric dance floor beats, hard edgy guitars and somewhat disturbing, but breathtakingly soothing and soulful vocals. Throw in a heavy dose of contemporary pop, but with an 80's synthpop sensibility and you've got Hurts magnificent second album Exile.
Exile hits stores on March 19th. For collectors, be sure to buy the Premium Box, only released in Germany, consisting of: Exile Deluxe CD+DVD,Black jute bag with "Hurts" on one side and "Exile" on the other side and 2 pictures. The Deluxe album comes in gatefold cardsleeve with photo booklet.
Check out the album sampler from their incredible new album Exhile
BUY Hurts- Exile
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