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Baker's Dozen

The Business Of Forever: Theo Hutchcraft Of Hurts' Favourite Albums
Simon Price , October 6th, 2015 12:04

The lead singer of classy, continent-conquering synth duo Hurts, about to release their third album, Surrender, goes from Phil Spector to Nine Inch Nails via UK hip-hop and Bulgarian folk songs as he picks his top 13


Jehst - The Return Of The Drifter
Jehst is a rapper from the UK. And my way into music was through hip-hop. I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Yorkshire, in this tiny little village. And there was not really an outlet for being in a band, or anything like that. I didn't encounter gigs much when I was younger. The nearest place was Newcastle, which was two hours away. So hip-hop and DJing was something that was tangible for me and was easy for me to be engaged in. And Jehst is, to this day, one of the greatest lyricists I've come across in my life. You've got a Morrissey-like wit and dexterity with words, which, because it's UK hip-hop and by its very nature, it's underground, it'll never be mainstream, and he'll never get the plaudits which as a lyricist he deserves. This album has got some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. Things like: "Call me the dirty stop-out, foetus on the couch. Stout on my breath and a bad case of desert mouth." How fantastic is that? And: "I bleed liquid gold and slur speech in a cryptic code, my feet slipping on this twisted road. Only the mystic knows the lone figure in the distance, no bigger than the sum of his inscriptions." It's like some old mystical poem, you know? It's all sampled and it's got that great feeling of Britishness: it feels like music you'd listen to on a bus. It's got that overbearing introspection that only British hip-hop can achieve. It's got a great sensibility to it, and there's not a lot of American rappers that come close. You've got people like MF Doom and Immortal Technique who are very lyrical, but UK hip-hop is based in that, based in being smart, and not being flashy and ignorant. It's got a great sort of intellect which I found transportative as a kid, this guy weaving these incredible rhymes.