HURTS + IAMX – Album Review

Science Fiction Double Feature, as one old song used to say. But my science fiction is my music, as usual, so my double feature will be comprised of HURTS and IAMX. Both of them are musical projects with their names written in capitals, so I’m guessing they mean business.

I remember the first time I heard about HURTS, while working for this website as a content editor of some sorts. They were having this concert in Romania, and it was sold out very fast, unusual for Romania and also for a band relatively unknown.

hurts

Pic here.

So far, I’ve missed their two concerts here, but I somewhat enjoyed their first album, Happiness (only about half of it, but still ok).

Another thing I remember is the comparison with Depeche Mode and White Lies. Even though I’m not a big Depeche Mode fan, I could recognize that their sound, electronica-ish as it was, it wasn’t depeche-y. But I am a big White Lies fan and for me, to be said that they are surpassed by these relatively unknown boys who like to dress up nicely to hide their pending deviations, it was too much! I was outraged by these suggested resemblances, so after the first listening of the album, I didn’t gave them a chance. That changed afterwards and I still have 2 or 3 songs from Happiness I like to listen to when I wanna feel down.

Their new album is called Exile. I’d like to think it’s their ugly child, because some of the lyrics are quite disturbing, and also the music is different. They sound so much darker than on Happiness, so now I’d like to think about them as balladeers crossed with Timbaland beats and weird, real electronica sounds. The vocals are outlandish, the music is so harsh and rough and wild and also well studied.

Exile (8) has this low volume, but such a high intensity. It’s not the peak of the album, but it’s the starting point from it can grow bigger and bigger.

Miracle (10) has passion and wilderness and fear and it’s disturbing and intense, and for that I wish I
could give it more than a 10. Also, I wish they didn’t remove the first video, it was perfect for the song. It was decadent and outrageous and I want it back!

Sandman (9) is a very disturbing composition, with Theo’s voice flowing and ticking like a clock along with the music, I almost have the impression he is dreaming.

Blind (7) starts really, really good vocally and musically, but then the lyrics hit in and… Nothing. Somehow, I don’t find it appealing listening to „Cut out my eyes and leave me blind”.

Only You (5) is not a memorable song, because it blends on the album between Blind and The Road. Lyricially speaking, I would say it’s a little bit more than the previous songs, but nothing remarkable.

The Road (9) is one of the songs that got promoted by the band. At first, I didn’t know whether I liked it or not, but when the chorus hit me, it was like a hurricane. And I couldn’t help but notice the ever present dubstep sound.

Cupid (6) is yet another song I didn’t bother remebering. The lyrics are quite simple, but the music fades away and merges perfectly with the album.

Mercy (7) sees the boys returning to their balladeers roots, along with the same dubstep rhythms on the chorus. I liked the spelling part of the word mercy, the vocals on that one verse are amazing.

The Crow (5) is another lyrically-full song, a ballad in the complete sense of the word. However, for my taste, is a little bit boring.

Somebody To Die For (8) is a song full of promises and hope, and I love it just for that one special feature of it.

The Rope (6) is yet another song about hope and all the other things that make you go on (yeah, I don’t know them, I have no name for such things), but it doesn’t have the special trait of Somebody To Die For. It does, however, have the dubstep-ish sound ever present on the album.

Help (5) is the last song of the standard edition of Exile. I was left under the impression that I wasted a lot of time listening to the second part of the album, so I can’t tell you what this part is all about.

I can definitely see progress here, more instruments, edgier sound, provoking lyrics, amazing vocals and choruses, but I will stick to my first half of the album, if I need some introspection and depression. All in all, 8/10 for HURTS and their Exile.

The second part of this double feature is IAMX. IAMX is a violent, decadent artist, with knick for saying the truth about a bunch of things, including love. His love is usually sick and twisted, and that’s the best part of it.

iamx

Pic here. I will forever and ever love this photo!

I listened to IAMX for the first time in 2008 and I was much appalled. In February 2009 I missed their concert, but in August (or September?) 2009 I listened to Missile and You Stick It In Me and I fell in love.

June 2011 saw me at their concert, watching and singing along and being genuinely happy. Volatile Times was a beautifully constructed album, but the live experience surpassed it by far.

So 2013 sees my beautiful Chris releasing The Unified Fields, another appropriate name for a beautiful piece of poetry-philosophy-depression infused music.

I Come With Knives (10) portrays Chris’ decadence perfectly, so what’s not to love about it? It’s beautiful and violent and it even has a verse in German (beautiful poetry, btw).

Sorrow (10) is here to say that, if you ever doubted Chris’ poetic abilities, you are so very wrong. Please let me enjoy my sorrow, with a Chris classic-to-be.

The Unified Fields (8). I can’t say much about this one, I’ll just let the lyrics speak for itself.

We are all insane
Counting down every single living day
We are prisoners of fate
I smile at the way everybody accepts the pain

Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t feel
Just because I don’t feel doesn’t mean I don’t understand
We are one in the unified field

The Adrenalin Room (7) is one of the songs that makes me think Chris took up Chemistry lessons. Oh, and also he studies anger!

Quiet the Mind (10) is definitely my favorite song off this album. How can I not love it? It deserves a special place in Chris’ work, alongside Spit It Out, Bloodsport, Missile, Volatile People, Tear Garden…

Under Atomic Skies (7) explores the same chemical issue, while suggesting nakedness. It wouldn’t have been Chris, if it were otherwise!

Screams (6) I don’t get. I listened to it, it’s tempo second-dependent, but it didn’t move me. I’m guessing he wanted to say too much, in too little time.

Come Home (9) hit me just were it should’ve. I feel like talking to myself, since I am for too long lost.

Animal Impulses (8). No explanations, just this.

I’m tired of this human duet
No civilizing hides
Our animal impulses.

Walk With The Noise (9) fool’s world, game, blows ripping, souls, killing me, terror, propaganda, flesh and blood. Excerpts of the song, powerful SOB!

Land of Broken Promises (8) starts out as weird, then we have a silent guitar, while Chris tells us the story. I have the feeling I listened to this song already, but I’m guessing it’s because the recurring theme in his work (The Stupid, The Proud).

Trials (8) of course it’s about demons in us, about acceptance and a half-hearted hope!

I couldn’t help but notice the score-y sound this album has. It’s full of instruments and it’s grandiose and it has power, I saw fit for Tarantino movies at least two of tracks (Walk With The Noise & The Adrenalin Room, maybe Land of Broken Promises too). 9/10 from my part. Please enjoy it!

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