Synth Pop, 2020
Maybe it’s just me, but I have a bit of a bias when it comes to more self put-together acts as opposed to those clearly put together by studio bigwigs to make money. I am not surprised to find an album by some teen starlet or boyband to be full of songs that sound like they are thrown together based on just how cheap the studio can purchase these songs. On the other hand, when it comes to act such as Hurts, who do their own thing, I would hope that an album from them would have songs that complement one another well to tell some kind of story. Maybe the lyrics are thematic, maybe the melody and hooks have a common theme, or something.
Well, for Faith, the title of the album and the lyrics to songs such Redemption, Hurts, and All I Have to Give suggest that the theme of the day may be religion—the joys of having one, whether it’s with a deity or a philosophy, although Redemption hints heavily that we are talking about religion here, as well as that bittersweet feeling of drowning in one’s faith to the point that it gives rise to feelings such as insecurities, doubts, shame, and such.
However, I feel that there is a disconnect of sorts between the musical motives of each song here. One moment I have a moody ballad, then I have a mid-tempo tune with a female choir singing along, then I get a poppy happy song that could have come from any act on adult contemporary radio, and so forth. I don’t get a sense of cohesiveness here, and that’s disappointing.
Make no mistake, this is a gorgeous album to listen to. All the tracks here are accessible with solid vocals, killer hooks, and fabulous choruses. The lead singles Voices and Suffer are good examples of this; there is a reason why they are, after all, lead singles. Redemption is a clichéd ballad with equally tired lyrics about some weary bloke wanting a new lease of faith and life, but Darkest Hour and All I Have to Give are far better examples of songs that tell a similar yarn. Fractured is as closest to urban contemporary as Hurts could ever get, and it sounds pretty good.
However, Faith ends up sounding like a collection of songs these guys made on various whims and, when they have enough to fill up an album, just throw them all in together into the bag. I enjoy listening to it, definitely, but I feel that it is nowhere close to being that musical thematic voyage that these guys’ previous albums had been.