Two men, a brilliant voice and a synthesiser make up new Mancunian band Hurts. The singer, Theo Hutchcraft and synth player Adam Anderson have made sure that this is a combination that works fantastically.
It may seem ironic that a band called Hurts would entitle their first album Happiness However after listening to the album you will find that any sort of irony is dashed away by inspiration. Each song in this album uses the emotion of happiness as a theme with different meanings, intentions and desires occurring. For example, the first track ‘Silver Lining’ conveys how somebody wants to help give another person’s life a bit more happiness whilst the second track, ‘Wonderful Life’ shows that if a person looks in the right places, they will find happiness. Some listeners may initially think that some of the songs’ contents parallel the miserable August weather that the UK suffered this summer, but each song has its own unique optimistic twist. On the contrary, Hurts do not cause suffering, but in fact heal.
The band and its producers must be credited for initially releasing the right tracks off the album as singles. ‘Better than Love’ and ‘Wonderful Life’ have very different tempos, but are excellent in their own ways. The former snatches your attention from the very first second with its prophetic lyrics. The song then maintains a fast tempo and is full of energy. Meanwhile, the latter, has a calmer beginning, captivating verses, and allows the chorus to be more of an event. Other highlights include ‘Sunday’ which has a very catchy chorus, as well as the reflective ‘Stay’ and ‘Blood Tears and Cold.’ Some listeners may well recognise the album’s sixth track, ‘Illuminated,’ as it was the soundtrack to a Sky1 advert which highlighted the channel’s many drama programmes. This track has some very powerful and poignant lyrics, and is my personal favourite.
“Happiness” is an album with a mixture of tracks with slow and fast tempos, with each one consisting of addictive rhythms and poignant lyrics. The diversity offered is the album’s best characteristic. Hurts have clearly worked very hard to produce this album. Each song is polished and worthy of its place. Subsequently one could be forgiven for thinking that the band have been around for over a decade. I would not say they are the finished article because every artist or band needs more than one excellent album to prove themselves. However, they have found a sound that suits them brilliantly, and this is the most impressive musical début that I have heard in a very long time.