LOS ANGELES (Capitol Records) - Hurt is a band born of extremes. Lead singer/violinist/guitarist/arranger J. Loren Wince grew up in the backwoods of Culpeper, VA. His parents exposed him to ample doses of gospel and classical music, but rock and roll was banned. Not so for drummer Evan Johns: the son of famed rock producer/engineer Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Van Halen), he was raised in Southern California among rock's elite and began playing drums early on.
The forbidden inevitably begets curiosity and eventually J. Loren not only discovered rock music but found it the ideal expression for his pent-up emotions. Evan heard an early demo, thanks to an associate of his dad's, and soon joined him in Hurt, along with bassist Josh Ansley and guitarist Paul Spatola.
"Rapture," the lead single, examines the twisted logic that religious zeal can engender, leading to a chilling outcome for the young couple portrayed. A guitar strums ominously, then is joined by a chugging rhythm section that propels the song forward to its fatalistic conclusion while Wince's vocals slide up and down an emotional Richter scale, matter-of-fact delivery yielding to fearsome growl and ebbing to a hushed near-whisper. Musically, it's a dizzying display of ying and yang, as is Vol. 1 as a whole. Delicate guitar work and serene symphonic passages swirl into a fury of raw, explosive rock and guttural vocals and circle round to a fragile beauty that is then quickly crushed. Vol. 1's lush string arrangements may call to mind a time when arena bands incorporated classical influences to bombastic effect - but Hurt, with its irregular time signatures and post-industrial sensibility, is not out to create Bic-lighter anthems but to plumb the depths of a single shattered soul.
Vol. 1 was produced by Eric Greedy.