Since debuting with the atmospheric, ice-cool single Wonderful Life back in 2010, Hurts duo Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson have sold over a million copies of their two albums, Happiness and Exile, and established themselves in the front line of English pop music as stylish writers of memorable tunes polished to perfection.
With long-time collaborative Swedish producer Jonas Quandt joined by Ariel Rechtshaid and Stuart Price, upcoming third album Surrender aims typically high, with single Some Kind Of Heaven giving a pre-emptive taste of the new collection’s ambitions. Nothing Will Be Bigger Than Us is – appropriately – one of the band’s biggest songs yet, and Rolling Stone is one of their catchiest.
Ahead of the release of Surrender we caught up with singer Hutchcraft for a look at the albums that have influenced him most for Hurts’ This Music Made Me…
One of my all time favourite albums. So beautiful, transcendent and mystifying. Van’s voice hits me like no other. It’s also a really strange album, completely unique. Genre-less and yet so familiar and comforting. It’s also full of motifs and self-references, which makes it more like one long piece of music.
I could talk about it all day! Ha! Basically, it’s brilliant.
Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion
Depeche are one of our favourite bands. They’ve informed a lot of what we do from the beginning. Classic songwriting and brave production.
I love their career as a band. They were able to grow and develop so much.
This album is their last truly potent collection of songs. It’s the Depeche Mode that Depeche Mode fans love. It’s dark, it’s heavy, it’s emotional and came out of a particularly difficult time for them and yet it sounds the most effortless.
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
This is my favourite Smiths album because it shows both sides of the band very well. The beautiful dramatic melancholy and the parochial kitchen-sink humour.
One thing I’ve always loved about The Smiths is that it’s music which bares no visible influences, and that’s why it’s so fascinating.
Long live King Moz.
This was the first album I ever got. It was given to me on my 11th birthday by my really cool aunt. A suspect present for an 11-year-old, sure, but without it I probably wouldn’t have become a musician.
I’m from the middle of the countryside in North Yorkshire and music was my only escape into a world that wasn’t sheep and fields. The stories Eminem tells and the world he creates on this album absolutely blew my mind wide open.
I still know every single word off by heart.
Prince is the greatest living musician. That’s not even an opinion, it’s just true. Purple Rain is his golden moment, when everything just came together to create a perfect pop moment.
I love how Prince is a whole multimedia experience. It’s visual, visceral, technical and beautiful all at the same time. He’s been a huge, huge influence on Hurts and everything we do. From videos to guitar parts.
Seriously though, imagine writing Purple Rain?!
The Strokes are probably the band who made me want to be in a band. I’d made music a lot of my teenage years but the radio was full of bands like JJ72 and Travis, and being in a band just didn’t seem like a cool or exciting idea.
As soon as I heard this album and saw the video for Last Night, that was it. I’ve lost my voice many a time since singing along. Musically, this is also a very impressive album.
The production is incredible, super tight and almost electronic and the interplay of the guitar parts throughout is really magical. It still sounds amazing and fresh today.
Fleetwood Mac – Tango In The Night
It wouldn’t be a list without Fleetwood Mac. Rumours would be many people’s choice, but I really love Tango In The Night. It came at quite a fractious time for the band but it shows them moving into some interesting territory in the late ’80s.
Family Man could be a Prince song. And obviously Big Love is the most brilliant opening to an album.
The production is all still so small and tight, like Rumours, which gives the songs such a timeless feel.
(We Are) Performance – (We Are) Performance
Performance are Manchester’s greatest unsung heroes. They burned so brightly for a brief but beautiful period. They are one of the first bands Adam and I bonded over when we first met, and were a great inspiration in the early days of our songwriting.
We’ve since became great friends with them and we’ve worked with they’re bassist/producer Joe Cross a lot. He co-produced Wonderful Life and Better Than Love on our first album. The album itself is just brilliant. Musically it’s somewhere between The Smiths, The Human League, New Order and The Killers, yet achingly modern and unique. It’s brilliant, intelligent pop music.
Lead singer Joe Stretch is still one of my all time favourite lyricists. He’s now an acclaimed novelist.
Kings Of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak
I absolutely love Kings Of Leon. Their albums have punctuated all the great periods of my life, so I feel a very strong connection to everything they do.
I choose this album specifically because it’s the moment they went from being great also-rans to truly a brilliant prospect. There aren’t many second albums in music which are as solid and confident as this one. It’s a band crystallising and beaming bright into the world. For me, Caleb has one of the most evocative and powerful voices in the history of rock. One of the greats.
Aside from that, it’s also just an album full of songs about sex, drugs and life in the fast lane.
A list like this wouldn’t be complete without Sparks. I find them constantly reassuring and inspiring.
They have forged a career for themselves in the most abstract and brilliant way. I love music that’s eccentric, absurd and preposterous and Sparks are all of those and more. It’s music that can only be made by brothers I think. It’s like those strange in-jokes and weird references that you can only have with a sibling.
I chose this album because it was my first proper introduction to them, and I love the more electronic nature of their sound. Giorgio Moroder‘s production is great. I could dance to Tryouts For The Human Race all night.
Hurts’ third album Surrender is out through Columbia on 9 October 2015. Tour dates and further information can be found here.