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Oxegen 2010 - Hurts

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ATL | 21:57 UK time, Saturday, 10 July 2010

2FM Hot Press Academy, Saturday 10th July, 7.55pm

Describe in a Tweet: This is not what we need right now.

What Happened: By this point, any further discussion of the weather is irrelevant (but we'll probably mention it again, to be honest). Let's just say it was hell out there, boys... it was hell.

A vast majority of revellers are taking shelter in the tents, trying in vain to escape the meterological carnage. Bizarrely, this leads to a situation where the back end of the 2FM Hot Press tent is jam packed, but the front is curiously empty. As ATL edges closer to the front, the answer becomes clear.

Portentious AND pretentious, Hurts are a Mancunian duo expanded to a full band, specialising in melodramatic synth-pop, with cinematic overtones. Kitted out in festival friendly tuxedos, the band display a potentially off-putting level of artifice, coming across arch and aloof, but not necessarily in the way they intend to. Whereas Ron Mael of Sparks was able to project an otherworldly stage presence by appearing completely emotionless and disconnected by the proceedings, Hurts come across as awkward and unconvincing.

The musicianship is solid, the songs are well crafted and arranged, but the whole thing just seems so totally innapropriate that it doesn't gel. Calling to mind Midge Ure-era Ultravox or Heaven 17, their attempt at teutonic grandeur couldn't be any futher from the trenches and swamps of Punchestown.

Crazy in Love: 'Better Than Love' picks up the tempo and connects with a weary crowd, injecting just a little life back into soggy bones.

99 Problems: It's probably intended to look mysterious and cool, but the backing vocalist wearing a tuxedo, standing perfectly motionless, is hugely distracting, diverting ATL's attention for most of the set, to see if he was actually doing anything. He was.

Oxegen Rating: 4/10

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