Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Synth wars: Cold Cave vs Hurts


Hurts 'Better than Love'

The 80s was a cool time. At least that seems to be what everyone thinks at the moment. The styles are everywhere and the music has been cool for the last couple of years. Synths have been slowly making their way back onto the stage setups of many a band, but two of proudest users of the instrument are Cold Cave and Manchester's own, Hurts.

Paul Lester featured the latter in his New Band of the Day blog last year and since then they've slowly been building hype. He described them in the following terms:

This electro-pop boy-duo look as though they've been styled by Helmut Newton, directed by Anton Corbijn and produced by Trevor Horn on a Martin Hannett tip...


As you can probably guess from that style is an important element of what they are going for. For me, there is something a little too contrived about them. Slicked back hair, pressed top-button shirts and a look of longing in their eye which doesn't do it for me, yet. When their album drops in August I'll probably change my tune like Nick Clegg talking about the Tories.

Their new single 'Better than Love' is polished, but lacks the emotion of Cold Cave's output. They remind me of a more thought out version of Delphic (harsh, I know!). The video is pretty swish, and it's set in a 50s-style underground lesbian bar!


Cold Cave 'Love Comes Close'

Cold Cave use their synths in a more toned down, subtle and interesting way. Managing to create genuine emotion without forcing it.

Their debut album Love Comes Close turned a lot of heads in 2009 and they've just finished touring in the UK. Put into the American Gothic genre but some, they have been compared to Joy Division and New Order. But, they offer something more sophisciated than straight up synth driven pop or downbeat laments.

Both bands are doing a lot for synths at the moment, so expect Topshop to start stocking some mini Korg, Moog and Roland badges pretty soon.

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