Hurts, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Wednesday 13 October 2010
“Well, well, well,” vocalist Theo Hutchcraft purrs darkly. He’s clad in a sharp suit and white shirt buttoned up to the collar, his scraped-back hair emphasising his strikingly pale skin and angular jaw. “There are lots of people here,” he muses, smiling seductively and gesturing to the jostling crowd with all the new-wave charm of a man who’s just stepped out of 1981.
This is the packed last night of Mancunian band Hurts’ European tour - an extraordinary achievement for a synth-pop duo who only signed a record deal last year, released their debut record Happiness last month, and have only ever played London twice before.
However, despite their popularity, the opening synths of “Unspoken” are unremarkable, and “Silver lining” is pretty dull. The tacky set seems to consist of five illuminated shower cubicles; the huge male backing singer is so affectedly still he could be a waxwork; and bandmate Adam Anderson appears pretentious as he flicks his coat-tails like a concert pianist (he sits at an electric piano).
That most of the fans weren’t alive during the musical era that Hurts channel is a clear advantage. To these fresh eyes, their dark, self-indulgent melancholy is an exciting point of difference within the current indie scene. For a handful of songs, this is true.
“Eighteen months ago, we wrote a song about Bristol. Now we play it around the world,” says Hutchcraft, revealing a Yorkshire accent as he introduces the single “Wonderful life”. His vocals are undeniably strong and, combined with a Noughties update, it’s a promising sound.
However, their new single “Stay” could be a Westlife cover with added “cool”, and others hold the kind of clichés that pass as a song for X Factor contestants
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote