Hurts – o2 Brixton Academy – 07.12.17

The arrival of Hurts‘ new album, Desire, also brings a return to the road for the Manchester duo. They were in a jubilant mood at the Brixton Academy heralding their set as a homecoming gig, back in the UK after a fair trot across Europe and beyond. Theo and Adam have amassed a dedicated fanbase and have enjoyed commercial and critical success many times over the last ten years.

It’s fair to say in 2017 that their star doesn’t shine as bright now as it did between 2010 & 2012. But their new album this year shows no signs of them slowing up or resting on past glories.

This tour is probably their most polished and professional to date; strong staging with a full band and backing choir. Theo works the stage with confidence and showmanship, while Adam works his away across many instruments like a man in control of his arsenal. Setlist-wise things play out led by the new creations, interspersed with some classics, and this is where things become a little unstuck…

The crowd is polite and generous, but it is clear the new tracks are not as strong as previous creations. At this point in an album campaign (released September) one can be forgiven for not being fully up to speed on a new albums contents, but even lead single Beautiful Ones received a very muted response. The hits however – Wonderful Life, Sunday, Miracle to name but a few – were greeted by the audience like a sailor retuning from leave to his amourous wife. One note here – their greatest, most epic track, Better Than Love, was present but disappointingly delivered with a toned down, bland production not befitting such a grandiose, well loved track. Like opening a mouthwatering tin of Celebrations to find only Bounties left.

The addition of All I Want For Christmas Is New Years Day was a real treat for a cold evening in early December. Good gig guys, but all I’d love for Christmas is a new album from you with less generic production and a grander, electronic finish.

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