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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


Depeche Mode - Songs Of Faith And Devotion
I already liked them, but hearing Songs Of Faith And Devotion was the first time I realised there was more to them. I fell in love with them. In this country we're shielded from the actual quality of Depeche Mode quite a lot because of the way they're perceived here, and they're given a bit of a rough ride in Britain. You've got to really investigate Depeche Mode to understand what's going on. When I found my way into them, I was hooked. They're a band who heavily influence what we do, particularly in the way they've handled their career. This album was like the end point of a journey that started with Speak & Spell, and they've managed to navigate this career, which made them into these kind of goth-rock gods. Which no one could ever have foreseen.

It's quite dark, it's not a barrel of laughs, I don't listen to it all the time because you've got to be in the right frame of mind, but Alan Wilder's production is at its best. It's a big sounding record, which they hadn't really done before. It came off the back of Violator and Black Celebration, but there's more of a depth to this. The way they made it was interesting, because it's quite fractured. Dave Gahan was still on heroin and they were in Madrid, I think, and his vocal on 'Condemnation' is one of the best he's ever done, so raw and so powerful, and when you know the story it's a very visceral moment. The fact that they have two vocalists, and what that does to them, I find fascinating. And it's got 'In Your Room', which is very dark and sexual and brooding, a bit like Massive Attack in places.

We feel a kinship between Hurts and Depeche Mode, because obviously we've found success in a lot of similar places. I like the way Martin sits down and writes songs that work as nice pop songs with very direct lyrics, then on this record, Alan Wilder took it and added a strangeness. It was very influential on us when we made Happiness. We'd write these songs on piano and acoustic guitar, then it would be, "Right, what environment do we put them in?" And that's what Depeche Mode do so well. This is a lot of Depeche Mode fans' favourite album. It's the Depeche Mode we all imagine in our head, this record. When you're trying to explain to someone that they're not just 'Just Can't Get Enough', this is the record you reach for.