The Horrors


Written by: TL on 23/07/2011 18:38:47

In my opinion, the five British dudes that make up The Horrors have created a quite deceptive band between them. Initially emerging with corny stage names and attire from the emo/goth/glam department, one would have been hard pressed to guess that this is a band that pins its live shows almost entirely on lunatic performances from its frontman, and one that has little to do with the musical aspects of the genres you'd think they belong in when you look at them. At least that's what I've learned listening to my own girlfriend, a quite big fan of the band, who is also the primary reason I've felt inclined to check them out for the first time on their new record "Skying".

What's quickly become apparent to me while listening to "Skying", which is the band's third LP by the way, is that while fans of modern music can likely get on board with The Horrors if they also move to the likes of White Lies or Chapel Club, I find it more likely for it to appeal to people who have a deeper appreciation for brit-rock all together. I say so because listening to The Horrors compound their richly textured soundscapes throughout this record, one's thoughts can easily wander as far and wide as to bands like The Cure, Jesus & The Mary Chain, Joy Division, Suede and even occasionally to Oasis and Kasabian.

What's also pretty special for this band and album, is that The Horrors seemingly refuse to compromise or be rushed, and rather opt to stubbornly allow their moods to develop in a slightly dark and cavernous production, with frontman Faris Badwan's booming graveyard-type vocals operating from a position that isn't as far in front of the instruments as you might be used to. Little is thrown in the way of impatient listeners by way of metaphoric lifebelts, as even one of the catchier songs on the record "Moving Further Away", drags on for quite long, and some would undoubtledly say too long.

The exception to this rule comes first in form of "I Can See Through You", which is at least relatively easily recognizable, and then later in "Still Life", which is an odd but effective hit-type of song, situated in the midst of a record that is otherwise confident bordering on arrogant. On this song, which reminds me a bit of Simple Minds, The Horrors tick several boxes for how to make an instantly memorable brit-rock hit, and the song is the one most likely to make an early impression, considering it's almost radio-friendly quality.

When that's all said and done though, it still strolls by the listener at a casual mid-tempo pace, as does most of the record, and I won't deny that for people like myself, who mostly look for more exhilarating moments in music, the record can come across a bit samey and too-cool-for-school. Hence I recommend it mostly as a chill listen meant for rainy afternoons, which can set a cool mood while you do stuff around the house, but which also has sufficient depth of expression to stand up to more direct scrutiny. Whether it will ever get anyone's blood boiling or raise hairs on anyone's back however, that's something I find somewhat doubtful.


Download: Still Life, Moving Further Away, I Can See Through You
For The Fans Of: The Cure, Jesus And The Mary Chain, Joy Division, brit-rock, new wave and post-punk from the last 40 years in general

Release Date 11.07.2011
XL Records

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