When Hurts’ frontman Theo Hutchinson talked about the band needing to ‘step forwards’, it was this album that would symbolise that move. He and Adam Anderson have metamorphosed from writing dark songs of hope in a cold Manchester apartment, to uplifting EDM with European influences. ‘Meanwhile I become a man’, a lyric from ‘Wish’, seems appropriate; Hurts have emerged in semi-fame. With fame has come great synthpop. Hurts have only three UK tour dates, while the remaining eighteen are for Europe, where singles like ‘Stay’ and ‘Wonderful Life’ won over Berlin nightclubs six years ago.
‘Surrender’ is by far Hurts’ most uplifting album yet. A gospel choir provide a powerful title song, and a grandiose backing for ‘Wings’ – the album’s climax. EDM makes a welcome addition to ‘Nothing Will Be Bigger Than Us’, and a series of string slides creates a tense opening to ‘Rolling Stone’. Not everything’s changed, though. Then known as Daggers, the duo’s trip to Verona seven years ago still influences their songs, popping-up in the opening of ‘Rolling Stone’, albeit in a much fairer way than in ‘Happiness’ back in 2010. Hutchinson’s voice is as smooth as ever. It wouldn’t be a Hurts’ album without the hints of desolation and false hope found in ‘Policewoman’.
Hutchinson and Anderson met whilst hammered outside a nightclub. Now they’re virtually alcohol-free and writing upbeat songs, but still performing to the same niche audience that admires their moody personas. ‘Surrender’ should add a few new faces to those crowds – it’s what it deserves. Hurts have grown-up, they have found themselves: a mixture of the buoyant and the downright bleak. And that’s absolutely fine with me.