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Album: Hurts, Happiness (Sony/Major Label)

Clean-cut Hurts duo Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson are aiming for a kind of undemonstrative Pet Shop Boys studiousness in their personal presentation, reflected in the well-manicured lines of their classy pop songs.

Lean electro lines are laced with strings in exercises of textured melancholy and desire, but save for one or two tracks – notably the current single "Wonderful Life" and the grandiose anthem of regret "Stay" – Hurts lack the compulsive appeal of PSB, and have nothing to match Neil Tennant's sly wit. Accordingly, they rely heavily on basic romantic themes, ranging from the merely mannered "Blood, Tears & Gold" to the embarrassingly needy "Evelyn". It's efficient and stylish, but lacks innovation: music that moisturises a touch too much.

DOWNLOAD THIS Wonderful Life; Stay; Silver Lining