Hurts – Faith
With an amazing breakthrough album (Happiness) and a virtually perfect follow-up (Exile), Manchester duo Hurts (Columbia) established themselves as an integral part of England’s indie pop scene with their dark production, emotional lyrics and with frontman Theo Hutchcraft’s enchanting voice. With their mediocre third and fourth records, however, they got dangerously close to becoming just another mainstream pop formation. While 2015’s Surrender still had some of what made Hurts unique, 2017’s Desire got entirely lost in the year’s synth pop fad.
As a result, we were more than pleasantly surprised when the band went back to their monochrome roots and released Voices, an upbeat indie pop hit that gave us a flicker of hope that Hurts had finally gone back to the unique noir-pop that most of their fans had come to love them for.
In fact, Faith turned out to be almost as dark in both lyrical and musical themes as 2013’s Exile, which isn’t surprising considering that it was mastered during lockdown and that both members of the duo have been quite vocal about their mental health issues. Piano ballads All I Have to Give and Redemption address these struggles in a beautifully raw way, channelling some very strong emotions and showcasing Hutchcraft’s outstanding vocals. Meanwhile, the majestic White Horses and Slave to Your Love remind us how beautifully dramatic Hurts can get in their production.
While we certainly love the inherent darkness of the record, it takes strange turns on certain tracks. Fractured might just be the worst song the duo has ever recorded, and Numb vaguely sounds like something written for a 2002 Britney Spears. Overall, however, it’s great to see Hurts going back to their noir-pop roots while experimenting with new themes and new sounds, and Faith is without a doubt the best album the band released in over 7 years.
Overall score: 7/10
Best songs: Slave to Your Love, White Horses, Darkest Hour