The Horrors – V Review


As titles of albums go you could be forgiven for thinking the Horrors latest, and fifth, album ‘V’ is a tad on the plain side. But according to frontman Faris Badwan the shape isn’t simply a marker for just how many albums the south-end-on-sea band have released into the world but also a representation of a certain, not so peaceful, hand gesture.

Although there is a feeling of reaching the end of your patience within many tracks don’t worry this isn’t The Horrors suddenly ditching those synth layers and echoes of their garage rock DIY aesthetic in favour of an energetic punk punchout. Really the up-yours in ‘V’ is more a whispered, mumbled under the breath while standing in the corner kind.  

Working with an outside producer for the first time since ‘Primary Colours’, Paul Epworth (London Grammar, Adele, Coldplay, Bloc Party) adding his ear to ‘V’ it would be easy to presume there should be an anthemic track or two hidden amongst the tracks.

Opener Hologram slithers into life in a sea of ambient synths, reflecting a little of 80’s electronica that perhaps rubbed off after recently supporting Depeche Mode.

‘Press Enter To Exit’ continues the classic eighties feel with its false ending and New Order rich swagger continued in tracks like ‘Weighted Down’, which begins with gentle violins before a stomping percussion adds a little Joy Division to the feel of things.  

Though it’s not just an eighties sound that is captured within ‘V’. First single ‘Machine’ and ‘Gatherings’ seem to yearn for those cascading 90’s Brit-pop era anthems.Mixing a little Suede to The Horrors retro feel. 

Everything is kept pretty much consistently within swaggering melancholy as ‘Ghost’ creates an, admittedly expected, haunted wall of sound that wonders around in a pretty gloomy atmosphere, gloomy in an entrancing way of course. ‘Point Of No Reply’ continues things in a misty edged tone. Wrapped in a fairly pointed lyric unfurling the bruises of an unhealthy relationship. The track descends into fuzzy distortion before clicking to an abrupt end like a cassette reaching the last millimetres of reel; ‘Throwing knives with an eye for revenge Tell your friends I hate you There’s nothing I can do.’

‘It’s A Good Life’ has a tentativeness to it. Written after the death of Peaches Geldof it feels imbued with the kind of heart fitting a The Cure album; ‘She lay in the dark, but I don’t know who found her.’

Bringing the album to a close ‘Something To Remember Me By’ is at last that i-phones in the air moment that Epworth’s name may have slightly promised. Though even this track is in no way a commercialised moment. A synth-pop romance laced within a driving beat makes for a lighter, once again New Order influenced, closer. Though even here there is still a darker interlude crafted into the tracks middle; ‘You say that I believe my lies But now you’ll never know.’

Perhaps not as oddball as previous albums ‘V’ is still an enchanting collection of tracks full of retro riffs that feel like The Horrors crafting an album full of genuine heart.

The Horrors – V = 8.5/10 

Hayley Miller

Single Review – The Horrors – Something To Remember Me By

Electro-Pop was not something we expected to hear from The Horrors, especially after the dark industrial sounds of the lead single ‘Machine’ from their upcoming fifth album V (due for release on Sepetember 22nd). ‘Something to remember me by’ features a crisp Pop beat along with chiming synth chords. The chorus opens up into an array of shimmering electronica and wiry tunes played out by a further set of synths. Faris’ vocals do strain slightly to fit into the pacey and upbeat environment, but just about work into the blazer piece of electronic indulgence which looks to indicate a varied album, but you’d hope the darker landscapes or at least the method behind them prevails for their fifth album as there were only hints at those soundscaping methods in this track.

Owen Riddle

Sunday Suggestion – The Horrors – Mirror’s Image

Back in 2009; when the world had fallen whole-heartedly to the plastic pop we still endure today; a spectral of colourful sound with darker depths had emerged to create a modern masterpiece. That masterpiece was Primary Colours from Essex (Yes that’s right! Put away your stereotype filled rifle) band The Horrors. Fast forward to 2040 and you’ll notice that the value of their work is permanent while the work of JLS and Cheryl Cole; who topped the charts that year will be confined to the dustbin of history. Like a disposable camera. The album was a huge re-evaluation and rethink and a magnificent clash and re-jigging of their influences and past sounds. Something much more significant in recent years due to the general lack of innovation with music in general. It is an album filled with perfectly placed walls of sound, manipulated layers, ranges of depth and tone with unconventional driving forces and melodies. It is immensely difficult to pin point a song from an album full of more obvious choices like Who Can Say or Sea Within A Sea, but for me Mirror’s Image best encapsulates the scale and sound of the album. It opens with gently lapping and oscillating synths and a subtle beat to slowly push the song your way. The rotating bass then arrives to usher in a chorus of grinding and reverbing guitars that churn out a distorted and out of focus rhythm that’s all tied together with Faris’ low toned and alert vocal. The higher pitched synths in the background add melody and counter act the deep sounds being put in. The cymbal heavy percussion expands and stretches the sound out and beyond while a rough yet razor sharp lead riff from Joshua Hayward cuts its way through the built up sound. If this was 2009 I would be giving this 10/10 and it’s Mercury Prize nomination isn’t credit enough for a simply great album.

http://youtu.be/0EOPIi4Q3lM

Image from  http://www.funkygibbins.me.uk