Screw it I'm making a thread for this if only for myself and second_base to revel in its awesomeness. Some thoughts then based on my second full play through of the new album...
Your very first listen to a new highly anticipated follow up album such as this one was for me is one of the most difficult things to do as expectations are high and you're so very quick to judge good song, poor song, ok song etc as the album progresses. It's a tricky one. Any album takes a good few solid listens to truly digest and Exile was no different as after the first listen through I actually felt less than impressed. So I gave it another more considered listen. Off we go then...
Track 1. Exile
From the moment that DM sounding guitar began followed quickly by the familiar vocals of er Muse I was sat there just thinking oh...in my mind already practically damning the opener as not being as good as the opener from their previous album "Silver Lining" but a few moments past and opener "Exile" just added layer upon layer that made it sound just as I expected, yep this is Hurts alright. But it's Hurts with a rather distinct alteration in sound and that is precisely where your head needs to be when listening to this album from start to end, this is not Hurts just trying to repeat Happiness this is actually Hurts trying to take a step away from it. And why not? Whose to say they should retain that exact same winning formula and we shouldn't just go with the flow to whatever comes next naturally? While the lyrics of the opening song aren't as remotely strong as I'd hoped for I have found myself listening to this over and over just as I did Silver, a positive sign still then.
Track 2. Miracle
Soon after "Miracle" kicks in and instantly you get the impression this is going to be a standout song, and it very much is. Theo slips and slides vocally until he finally hits that wonderful "look at all of the damage you have done, in time" as the accompanying background swell swallows you up whole, a rather majestic chorus later and instantly I'm singing along attempting my best Theo sounding voice which still sounds fucking crap and I've had plenty of practice. Sigh. Miracle was chosen as the debut single and it's not difficult to understand precisely why.
Track 3. Sandman
We're only two songs in and what is this? Hip Hop beats? Theo in sultry fairy tale telling story mode? Children singing as if I'm stood in a school hall? Wai wha? It can only be "Sandman". Well this was unexpected but damn I know I like it. Three songs in and the album has already taken a complete detour from what I was expecting and in that moment I find myself happily fulfilled that Hurts have the balls to try a previously unexplored direction with a song that has you instantly humming along like a man possessed. Oh shi, Hurts have put a new hook in my head that I won't shake for days again, damn you Hurts! So far so very good.
Track 4. Blind
From children singing to what at first can only be described as an african chant sounding intro. Well that's what it will be seen as anyway, instant thoughts of the Lion King arise. But we're moved quickly back to the one thing we all crave, Theo just banging it out soaring upward and taking us along with him, holding on to his legs no doubt. Hard to believe such an amazing sounding delivery is actually describing what would no doubt be the most horrific act you could imagine. The obvious contrast being what the lyrics entail and that is something we've all doubt been through ie I'd rather not see you at all than see you in the arms of another. We're all bound to never let go of what once was and that's what "Blind" pretty much explores in full. Albeit in stunning fashion. Again lyrically you could say it's not truly delivering but who cares with a chorus like that and one that Theo rather lovingly extends as the song goes on. Add another damn hook in your head for days to follow...oh yes this much is now evident as I'm just four songs in and already have my head filled with them.
Track 5. Only You
We're taken back to a much more familiar sound with the next song that is "Only you". And for me this is the first so so track on the album, the track that if I was driving in the car I'd most probably skip without a second thought - eyes still firmly on the road. And yet surprisingly I find this is much more The Hurts of old I know so why do I find myself not really drawn in? It seems already the new sound I'm now privy to has already really had a rather dramatic effect and while it's not a bad song whatsoever it's a little too safe sounding just as I was getting used to entirely the opposite.
Track 6. The Road
Theo then grates in softly as we enter the long journey that is "The Road". This feels like the first song where Hurts are back to basics really exploring themselves lyrically once again and that's what we want because we get more Theo that way. It shifts to and fro between mellow and aggressive in nature as we're met with "When I close my eyes I see you" while drums build up frenetically and in the last quarter I feel as though I'm back listening to DM again as this sonic boom erupts all around. It seems while DM have simply lost their way both with their latest album and the previous one Hurts are now filling the gap left behind which has to be said is purely ironic considering the influence they have been to both Theo and Adam for many many years. Maybe next time DM, for now Hurts have their shit sorted at least.
Track 7. Cupid
Speaking of DM that brings us nicely to "Cupid" because that at times utterly obvious DM sounding guitar riff raises its hand once again for your immediate attention. It's as if Martin Gore just became the third member of Hurts as the song just oozes DM in about all shades you can imagine in certain sections and ends abruptly in almost full on DM mode. Again not a bad track and I will refrain from using the word filler because it's still better than that.
(Musical influences are far more defined and evident on this album than we've ever known before and no we're not done yet either because there's still more to come)
Track 8. Mercy
We move on to a song that has one of the most pleasing sounding opening minutes on the album as Theo proclaims "leave me in chains...strip me of shame.... caress me with pain". It's a mere moment that passes here but Theo's vocal delivery is nothing short of haunting. We're all fully aware of what the man can produce when he belts it out but sometimes those gentle moments are the ones where if I were of the female persuasion I'd be sliding down in my chair all a flutter. The gentle moment is then gone however when "Mercy" kicks in properly as this song is in no form about being soft and gentle. "Don't cry mercy...there's too much pain to come..." Yep. See. Theo is begging just end it all and do it right now with additional words of Hate, Pain, Rage, Blood et al. No doubt this is the song we will see attached to Game of Thrones Youtube videos as all manner of harm is caused in the process. It's a fairly angry sounding song that grips you instantly as it sways between being almost calming to being downright sadistic in nature with an additional choir that backs up that sense of anger. It's almost a sound explosion compared to what went previous and an enjoyable one at that. Note: I take full credit for any Youtube videos showcasing Game of Thrones coupled with this track from this day forwards.
Track 9. The Crow
So then we finally hit the much talked about Hurts does "Wicked Game" that it's pretty much been slated as by every single review I've read. But I completely refuse to accept that because I know of a much stronger candidate that this song takes me back to and that my friends is Suede's very first self titled Album Suede. All this talk of Chris Isaak has really disappointed me because this IS a Suede sounding track almost through and through and if you've ever heard the likes of "Pantomime Horse" you'll know precisely what I'm getting at.
Track 10. Somebody To Die For
This is easily the track that sounds like it was almost directly lifted from previous works Happiness. It has all the makings of a finely tuned and ultra traditional Hurts song. You know what's coming before the song reaches the thunderous chorus. Theo exudes the usual silky tendencies that Hurts fans worldwide now know him for and it almost becomes a celebration of this is the sound we came from amidst every other track on the album.
Track 11. The Rope
Upbeat Hurts then. Much like many of the more dance style tracks they have produced before we're met with dramatic drum lines and something about a rope being long and no turning back. It's an ok track at the end of the day but not particularly one I'd be jumping up and down to if I ever saw the band live. Yeah I'm not that keen on this song as you can tell.
Track 12. Help
Interestingly many of the reviews have garnished shit loads of praise on this the closing track (unless you have the Deluxe edition) with some even calling it "the best finale to any album in years". While I wouldn't go that far it is damn good. It's a song at first filled with hope and optimism combined with a chorus that has Theo angelically spilling "and we cry.....away". Then something wonderous happens, horns, and a full on fucking backing choir chanting "I can feel the darkness coming". Oooo shi. Grab your nuts time cause this one is going to go off I can tell. And it does. Soon enough drums thump, cymbals crash and then a guitar whips out its huge cock and slaps the shit out of your ears. Weeeeeerrwwooooowooooowooooowoooooo!!! Adam sure can play. And it all fades out gently almost as quickly as it began. I was so so ready for the additional clap a long section too, sadly that never materialises but damn it's a nice little closer I must say.
All in all Exile is the album many a Hurts fan neither expected nor wanted. But fuck that. What we have here is failure to communicate. Exile has a much darker tone and at times is nigh on off the chain angry. It has a new edge to it that at first misleads you into thinking the band have utterly dropped the ball but continued listens later you will find that this is actually precisely what you wanted. Hurts from a fresh perspective and fuck me if it they don't pull it off rather marvelously. It's wonderfully produced as you would expect and now has Adam playing guitar like a guitar should be played on many a track that might just stop the Edwin standing still on stage or as is well known by many even falling asleep while on stage as he did during one particular show in Kiev.
Sure it suffers from difficult second album syndrome and many may feel as though the band simply didn't deliver because the bar was raised too high with Happiness (as many reviews have stated) and/or it's such a departure from that that we all knew to be of any true worth. But we should forgive such simple minded types who can't appreciate the fact Hurts wanted to make the change and they are simply asking you to now do the same. Embrace it says I.
New sounding Hurts with songs that consist of chorus' and hooks that crawl into your brain and play over and over right as you are trying to go to bastard sleep. And you will be damn thankful for it if you have any sense.
I have not bought a album in a very long time (last one was the original hurts album and before was the first nickelback album). I will admit it now that I torrent'ed this,listened to miracle and somebody to die for and then purchased the Itunes deluxe edition.There's not many bands that get me to youtube their music let alone buy it but Hurts hold that hold that special place in my heart of my number one band.Whatever mood I'm in I can find a song on the album I can listen to and get captivated by the off beat and often angry guitar chords and the shrill voice and haunting lyrics that only hurts can provide.
The best way I've found of listening to this album is to take 2 hours and enjoy Happiness and Exile one after another you can listen to all the progress they've made as composers and in their field of instruments(voice and guitar).
Exile is a fine album with only one track that I can find hits a bum note (cupid) and would make any hurts fan or hurts noob smile from ear to ear.
*High five's Prey*
cHeal wrote: I don't care one way or another whether GamerGate is all white or all black migrant transgender midget. .
Never heard of this band before, but have just been having a listen and got to 'The Road'. That track in particular has a very Depeche Mode feel. Up to that point I was a little unconvinced as while the first few tracks were interesting and a little Pet Shop Boys-esque, after Sandman it seemed to take on a bit of a Savage Garden vibe. So I don't really quite know what to think, but it is certainly an interesting listen and I do like 'The Road'.
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Hurts front man Theo Hutchcraft told the Daily Record newspaper that he required emergency surgery on his eye after he fell down a flight of stairs and punctured his face on an iron gate while filming a new promo in Spain.
Speaking about the accident, he said: "I was running and I fell from the top of the stairs all the way down and into an iron gate. I had eight stitches and nearly had no eye. It was quite horrible."
Theo Hutchcraft revealed all concerning the incident which happened during filming the video for new single 'Blind'.