Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on May 28th 2010 8:00AM by Matt Glazebrook
Suited-and-booted in super crisp monochrome -- with nary a headband or face paint stripe in sight -- vocalist Theo Hutchcraft and syntheziser twiddler Adam Anderson channel the self-serious grandeur of Tears for Fears or 'Vienna'-era Ultravox, with a touch of OMD's stirring theatricality.
The duo emerged from ashes of two fledgling ensembles, Bureau and Daggers, eventually ditching the idea of sharing space in the tour van in favour of a more streamlined, focused approach. "Democracy is quite a difficult thing in bands," admits Hutchcraft in a soft-spoken Mancunian burr rather at odds with his arch, almost haughty vocal style. "I think we were trying do something that wasn't ourselves in the other bands and this is very much, as the two of us, just who we are. It feels very honest, which is an important starting point."
The video for newly released debut single 'Better Than Love' combines Hutchcraft's razor-sharp cheekbones and hairstyle -- strangely reminiscent of both Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp and one of the Goss brothers from late '80s boyband Bros -- with blindfolded ballet dancers and an androgynous group of extras decked in suave, Weimar Republic fashions. It's all very 'fashion-spread-in-Dazed-and-Confused' (or perhaps The Face, for an appropriately retro reference) but, according to Hutchcraft, the glamorous promos and Anton Corbijn photo shoots can give the wrong impression.
"Music needs to be visually represented properly and context is very important for our music. But at the same time, it's funny how it's come around, because we started with the idea we wanted it to be substance over style," he explains. "We deliberately kept the visual side of it very simplistic and very minimal, so that the grandeur of the songs could shine. That was original idea, but its been perceived the other way around."
The tune itself bulges with melancholy disco emoting before exploding to a swooping, almost euphoric climax. A similar trick is performed on 'Wonderful Life' -- a lushly rain-swept musical suicide prevention hotline ("Don't. Let. Go. Never give up, it's such a wonderful life") that enjoyed limited exposure earlier this year.
As for the rest? "We've just come off the NME tour, the album's 99 per cent there, that's going to be out in August, we've got a lot of festivals [coming up], everything really. It's all picking up after spending a lot of time hiding away from everybody. We're now public property."
For a group with barely a properly released single to their name, Hurts haven't exactly being flying under the radar even before now. The pair made the top five of the BBC's much-publicized Sound of 2010 poll -- a golden ticket to limitless airplay and exposure or an albatross of over-expectation, depending on your perspective. "The best thing for us was it didn't cause us any problems, but in the wrong hands it can make people question who they are and what they believe in," says Hutchcraft. "Fourth place is good for that, it's kind of the best of the losers isn't it?"
There's a composure and self-confidence to Hurts' synth pop that suggests 'best of the losers' isn't something they'll be particularly happy to accept in the future. As the singer jokes, when asked the group's future plans, "Probably to win the Eurovision song contest. We're just working up to it."
For more information on the band, go to their official website.