Hurts have a reputation as dapper, suited-and-booted peddlers of moody power-pop that cries tears of pure melodrama; like if The Smiths’ ten-tonne truck went steam-rolling straight into Ultravox. While previous outings ‘Happiness’ and ‘Exile’ chased a very specific, tear-hued 80s aesthetic - sometimes a little too deliberately - ‘Surrender’ gives itself up to something different. It’s a record that feels free.
Though the duo sometimes return to the comparative safety of moping synthetic orchestras, and soul-reflecting mirrors lying conveniently on the Camberwell Road pavement, for the most part, there’s a new sense of fun to Hurts. Lyrically ‘Surrender’ remains firmly rooted in Hurts’ love of the indulgently overwrought - “I don’t need hell to make me scared of love” alongside the metallic violins of ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ - but this time it comes first class mailed with a wry, ever-so-slightly knowing grin.
When Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson unearth their gaudier, more playful side - in the parping horns and trotting bass-lines of standout ‘Lights,’ the squelching ‘Slow,’ or the swirling disco-lights of ‘Kaleidoscope’ - they hit on a bold new direction. Long may it last.