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Pain And Pop Collide In Little Hurt’s New Album “Lovely Hours”

It’s clear after a single listen to Little Hurt’s Lovely Hours that songwriter Colin Dieden needed to purge himself. It isn’t always pretty.

The ten songs on this album aren’t for everyone. Dieden, onetime lead singer and songwriter for The Mowgli’s, isn’t bashful about confessing his own sins. He wants to hurt those who’ve hurt him. He broods over his one-time lover now in the arms of another. The songs are rife with substance abuse, hangovers, venomous self-denunciation, and eye-popping inspiration.

He wraps a lot of these songs up in a vigorous pop package. The vocal melodies laden throughout Lovely Hours are one of its greatest strengths. They turn the sordidness and bad feelings into musical art. He sings in a lot of different voices as well – often within the same song. He screams, he soothes, and sometimes sounds close to breaking down before the song concludes.

The title song spotlights one of the best melodies. He sings in a near sway, his voice rising and falling through the lyrics, and the varying vocal range he employs gives the song a distinct character. The percussion puts a spring in its bounce that proves infectious from the first. “Get Out of My Life” tells the story of too much alcohol, domestic squabbles, and fair-weather friends over a relentless pulse and revved-up guitar. It has an undeniable pop music pedigree that wallops listeners when the chorus hits.

Every pop album demands a five-star single. Dieden’s Little Hurt has a memorable lead single with the song “I Can Do Better Than You”. It’s a concentrated power pop jam with an addictive synth line that buries itself in your brain and won’t let go…. And you won’t want it to.  The lyrics are a screed that rakes his ex over the coals without ever sounding too crass. The chorus works like a boxer tagging you with multiple set-up shots before delivering its payoff final blow. The video for the song is a winner as well. It’s drenched in a prism of colors and artsy without ever looking too pretentious.

There’s an almost reggae-like tilt to the track “Laughing at Myself”. It’s a strong candidate for Dieden’s lyrics at their darkest as he cuts himself precious little slack. He’s laughing at himself, but it’s a whacked-out cackle in lieu of sobbing and reflects a nothing left to lose point of view. It won’t be hard for anyone who’s lived through fast times and lowlights to relate to this tune. “Pineapple Pizza”, arguably more than any other track, shows how much Dieden’s lyrical acumen has grown in recent years. It’s snide, pointed, and surprisingly funny. The chorus, once again, will be the focus of the listener’s attention.

His collaboration with The Ready Set on “Buttercup” is a slinky and hyper-charged lament on a relationship taking a turn towards disarray. It crackles with creativity. The final track “Down Bad for You” is the second of the album’s two collaborative efforts and showcases guest vocalist Stu Da Boi. It’s one of the few songs recorded for Lovely Hours that takes a guardedly optimistic view of budding romance, albeit filtered through a fatalistic point of view. Songs such as this are gestures towards balance that make Little Hurt’s Lovely Hours all the more satisfying. It’s one of the most interesting releases of 2023. 

Mindy McCall



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