Hurts - 'Better Than Love'
Well, after several hours of listening work, and several more spent in silent cogitation and analysis, and a good night's sleep, I can exclusively reveal...that this isn't very rubbish at all, is it? Far from it. In fact, there's probably a gag to be made about how listening to Hurts fails on one key criterion, namely that it doesn't Hurt, and therefore the band's name is a lie...
...but the joke actually WOULD Hurt, which would ruin the internal logic a smidge.
In any case, I get the impression that jokes aren't really a very Hurts sort of a thing. The writings of Franz Kafka, yes. The ballet, yes. Cufflinks and silk scarves, OH DEFINITELY. But not jokes. Unless they're very dry jokes, the kind you don't so much laugh at as snort lightly, like the last dusty breath from a mummy's tomb.
(Here's the video. It's like BBC Four's answer to Britain's Got Talent.)
Not that their music is dry or unemotional: far from it. These are passionate people, swooning great romantics who happen to believe that the best way to express their darkest desires is not the medium of sweaty old rock music. Instead they've taken inspiration from the great synth duos of the 1980s. The ones where a quiet reserved man made loud electronica happen on a synth, while his singing partner sang raw bloody pain over the top.
The sound may have been updated to take in recent technological developments, but the modus operandi is the same. Glistening robotic music with a raw human heart. Or a human body with an Iron Man-style battery at its core, depending on your point of view.
And while this is not an unheard-of approach in this day and age (*cough*LAROUX*cough*), there's something sumptuous going on here which makes 'Better Than Love' feel like a luxurious treat, instead of a fleeting pop fizzbomb.
Not that there's anything wrong with fizzbombs, I might add. Some of my best friends are fizzbombs...
Popjustice says: "'Better Than Love' certainly doesn't skimp on the melodrama."
Indiescreet says: "The track itself is as good as anything else the band have produced so far."
The Chemistry Is Dead says: "They're strangely good looking in a posh Italian thugs way."