Hurts – review

Heaven, London

One thing in Hurts' favour is that they're no bandwagon-jumpers – here's one band who will never sully their glaciated synth-pop by lobbing in a dubstep drop. Having found their calling as makers of music that could have been recorded in 1982, this Manchester twosome haven't deviated from it – their new album, Exile, so precisely recreates the New Romantic era that it's almost parodical.

Hurts, though, aren't laughing. In their minds, they're offering something thrillingly different from the 2013 norm, and they've clearly spent a bundle to ensure that this comeback gig is enveloped in the right sort of frosty grandeur. Each song has its own elaborate lighting scheme, from strafing strobes during Evelyn to the red and blue cloudscapes that give new track The Road its gloomy detachment. The effects complement the billowing synths and guitars, creating a stadium show in miniature and, if they ever do reach stadium level, they've already got songs that will sound massive when bawled by 70,000 people. There's a taste of that tonight, as the audience bark the choruses to their biggest singles, Wonderful Life and Stay.

In these moments, and when they play the new song Miracle – a concoction that manages to be both elephantine and stupidly catchy – it's not such a stretch to imagine them scoring Muse-sized success. It helps, too, that singer Theo Hutchcraft and keyboardist Adam Anderson are chiseled types who were born to be viewed on huge screens. Hutchcraft, who looks only mildly foolish in black leather gloves, may want to hone his banter, though. When fans are slow to raise their phones during the crowd-participation number Illuminated, he sighs, "That's good enough". "Good enough" won't cut it at Wembley.

• What have you been to see lately? Tell us about it on Twitter using #GdnGig


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Hurts – review

Mark Beaumont: Hurts may have their moments, but Theo Hutchcraft's cheesy chart vocals make them every bit as painful as their name suggests

Mark Beaumont

28, Oct, 2013 @6:41 PM

Hurts | Pop review
Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
Much of Hurts' live set suggests a whistle-stop version of the annual 1980s revival Here and Now tour, with tracks evoking Tears for Fears, ABC and Erasure, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

10, Oct, 2010 @9:16 PM

Article image
Lovebox – review

The stars strut their stuff on stage but it's at the edges that Lovebox really thrives, writes Stevie Chick

Stevie Chick

22, Jul, 2013 @5:49 PM

Hurts: Exile – review
Hurts' second album sees the synthpop stylists desperately short of material, says Hermione Hoby

Hermione Hoby

10, Mar, 2013 @12:05 AM

Article image
Hurts: Happiness | CD review
Hurts have the backstory and the image down pat, but the songs just don't stick, says Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

02, Sep, 2010 @2:29 PM

Article image
Hurts: Surrender review – synth pop that's just not good enough
There was a whiff of subversion to Hurts’ early material, but now they just sound like any old bombastic chart-pop pedlars

Tim Jonze

08, Oct, 2015 @8:00 PM

Article image
Hurts: Exile – exclusive album stream

Soaring choruses, high-octane 80s emoting – have a listen to the second Hurts album and tell us what you think

08, Mar, 2013 @12:59 PM

Article image
Kerridge, Charlotte Church, Hurts: this week's new tracks

Kerridge | Riva Starr feat RSSLL | Charlotte Church | Ed Drewett | Hurts | Planningtorock

Tony Naylor

11, Mar, 2013 @6:00 AM

Article image
Hurts, Silver Columns, Summer Camp: your time is now, whoever you are

Need to know who's behind three of January's top tunes? Yeah, us too. But the class of 2010 are enigmatic by design

Rebecca Nicholson

09, Jan, 2010 @12:05 AM

Article image
New music: Hurts – Miracle

Michael Cragg: The Manchester duo are back with a complicated publicity stunt involving dry cleaners and tape recorders. Oh, and a new song

Michael Cragg

04, Feb, 2013 @10:58 AM