Possibly not really a single, but, y’know, you do a video for it…
Keane Tzong: Hurts have successfully advertised themselves as high-concept as hell, so imagine my surprise when this, the first song I’ve heard of theirs, turns out to sound like… a Backstreet Boys album track. It’s not bad — actually, it’s pretty listenable, once the disappointment recedes — but it’s not what I expected either.
Jessica Popper: I got really excited when I started listening to this, as the first verse suggested it was going to build up into a brilliant chorus. Finally, I thought, I could be fully on board with Hurts, as I really wanted to be. However, the chorus just wasn’t quite strong enough. The verses are lovely, though, and I love how boybandy their sound is — proof that you can make anything seem cool if you give it a serious black and white video!
Martin Skidmore: An English electro duo, who seem to have put their song together from cliches. The singer can’t sing. The music is slick enough, though there is no catchy tune and little energy.
Mallory O’Donnell: This is way too much Marsh & Ware, not enough Hall & Oates. And what we actually need, to make it even more frustrating, is another Simply Red.
Chuck Eddy: Have no idea where to slot this thing: Simply Red crossed with Radiohead? Okay, no, that’s way off, right? Uplifting use of echo space, I guess. But wait, you know what it kind of reminds me of? “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor! Is that too obvious? Oh wait…also late U2. Sort of.
Alfred Soto: First single “Wonderful Life” was a fabulous stab at moody eighties disco. This one really pushes the Johnny Hates Jazz vibe (the video is laughable necromancy). As I recall, Johnny Hates Jazz’s second single was better (faster) than this.
Ian Mathers: After “Wonderful Life” I really wondered what they’d do next, and it turns out that Hurts haven’t so much repeated themselves as brought us a wholly different type of transmission from the same impossibly noir, sophisticated dream of the 80s that only exists in their (in our) heads. In terms of an aesthetic this song and video are perfect additions to a small but very intriguing corpus (either they’re going to fall apart any minute now, or the debut is going to be perfect), but if you can’t get any sort of visceral thrill out of the “never let you down baby, baby” part then I suspect you and I want different things for pop music. Hurts are probably too overtly serious-minded and capital-s Significant for some (for most?) listeners, but if this stuff hits you at the right angle, god, it’s potent. To my ears, they’re the most exciting new band out there right now.
Michaelangelo Matos: “Mess-a me ’round”? Who the fuck is this, Chico Marx? Oh wait: Chico shot the keys; it was Harpo who was big into MOR.