In concert at the Dior Homme after-show party, British duo Hurts extended the fashion show's aesthetic into musical form.
The same sharp and clean aesthetic, same tight and urgent rhythm, same new wave accents. If it was possible to translate Kris Van Assche's collections for Dior Homme into music, one might simply look straight to Hurts.
The elegant English duo, with their sleek hair and shirts with the top button fastened just so, performed at the very private party after the Dior Homme fashion show. Singer Theo Hutchcraft and synthesizer player Adam Anderson added the finishing touch to the masterful show, condensing it into a note that seemed almost sentimental. In their last album, "Exile" (RCA), the group ramped up the nostalgic choruses, and their lyrical and full vocals, with a base of synths and martial drums. When the duo appears, their cool rectitude seems like a nod to icons of cold wave. One might easily suggest that they belong on the cover of a fashion magazine as much as they do a music one. Hurts' visual signature conveys a concise image: men in strict suits, with graphic and slick silhouettes. But they avoid being typecast thanks to their carefully composed and rational songs, with their Bauhaus purity.
They expertly distill the essence of the 1980s, calling on the output of such decade-defining figures as Dépêche Mode, Simple Minds, Ultravox, and Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark. But far from simply being talented compilers of music, the pair making up Hurts express a romantic subtlety all their own. Through their balanced melodies and their epic aural landscapes, the Englishmen alternate inky darkness and melancholy with shining a shaky light on rose-tinted love and the synthetic joyousness of dance pop. This creative flexibility has been in evidence from their first album, "Happiness " in 2010. Kylie Minogue, of whom they are big admirers, lent her sweet angelic voice to one of their songs, "Devotion" . An aptly-named number, for Hurts is exactly the type of hymnic group that can boast a cult following.