WORTH A LOOK?: *****
Tracklist: Surrender; Some Kind Of Heaven; Why; Nothing Will Be Bigger Than Us; Rolling Stone; Lights; Slow; Kaleidoscope; Wings; Wish; (deluxe version only) Perfect Timing; Weight Of The World; Policewoman.
Two years ago Hurts topped the singles chart as featured artists on Calvin Harris and Alesso club banger Under Control.
The success of Under Control and sharing Harris’ manager might also explain the motivation behind Surrender. Hurts debut album Happiness was a European breakthrough which specialised in overblown theatrical gloom pop and wasn’t afraid to mine the 80s for its influences. Follow up Exile was harder, met with less success and now the band have gone more pop than they’ve ever been.
monstagigz last saw Hurts at the Scala in June and the first two tracks were the same as on this album and featured a predominantly female black gospel choir. It must’ve irked team Hurts when debut single Some Kind Of Heaven, the first attempt to fully embrace pop, wasn’t met with much love here, in Germany or eastern Europe (their biggest markets).
No matter. The decision to exclude chart topper Under Control is a wise one. Similar (albeit slower in Weight‘s case) ground is covered by Nothing Will Be Bigger Than Us and Weight Of The World (both of which were aired at the Scala) but they don’t pack quite the same punch. Far better is single Lights (their best since the gloriously aching Wonderful Life) a much more seductive and Prince-ish attempt to lure listeners to the dancefloor.
We’ve always been suckers for a Hurts ballad and new single Wish (all Theo falsetto bursting with regret) is up there with Stay, Silver Lining, Devotion, All I Want and Help. Elsewhere, Why is similarly upbeat like little else on those first two albums. Kaleidoscope is slower but as tuneful. Wings wouldn’t be out of place on a Take That album and features the amazing aforementioned choir. Let’s hope we see much of the choir on next year’s tour.
The failure to sell quite so much as previously may come back to haunt Hurts. For now we should make the most of one of Britain’s best groups at their most thrilling. Surrender? We’re raising our white flag. Pop album of the year.