If anything is certain about Hurts, then it’s that they have more than earned their ‘cool’ status. In late 2009, “Wonderful Life” appeared without warning on YouTube, and became something of a cult hit. The video alone had an authentically Gothic, New Romantic feel to it, and the song had more in common with new wave synthpop of the early ‘80s—the essence of Joy Division, but the melodic sense of the Human League.
You could probably bash off a moderately pointless thesis on why the alternative scene of the last decade has taken so little influence from the songwriting of Gary Barlow, when so much other Nineties pop - from Eurodance to R&B - has undoubtedly had an impact. I can’t be bothered to think the thing through properly, but I suppose you’d probably conclude that Barlow’s best work is more classic songcrafting in a Sixties/Seventies vein than intrinsically of its time, while the overwhelming majority of boyband music – including, let’s be honest, most of Take That's material – was anodyne bilge that still lives on in the various projects of Simon Cowell. Still, considering the sheer popularity of Take That, East 17, Boyzone, Let Loose, 911 etcetera etcetera, it would seem peculiar if we saw no trace of them at all in this generation’s magpie-eyed hipsters.
Anyone concerned about the veracity of information found on the internet might look long and hard at the case of the Wanky Balls festival. According to a recent feature in the Independent, this was the name under which The Big Chill started life, before understandably rebranding itself. Alas, the Wanky Balls festival existed only in the mind of an online mischief-maker: here was an object lesson in not just copying your information from Wikipedia without checking it first.
No opportunity is spared to slip in a choir or a chorus that demands a flame thrower. Alix Buscovic 2010 There’s the monochrome cover shot, the duo wearing suits and haughty scowls; above it, a one-word title that seems arch, even ironic, in this context; and then, there’s the presence of Kylie Minogue. Tonight, Matthew, are Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson the Pet Shop Boys, actually? Well, not quite.