When The Horrors arrived in the mid-00s, you’d be hard-pressed to predict the sonic trajectory the Southend-on-Sea outfit would go on. From the goth garage punk of their debut ‘Strange House’, to the euphoric floor-filler of ‘V’s ‘Something To Remember Me By’, The Horrors have dabbled in shoegaze, cosmic synth-rock, neo-psych and krautrock across their discography.
For some bands, this may come at a detriment to their identity and almost become a gimmick. However for The Horrors, every release feels natural. This in part comes from the alluring presence of Faris Badwan, who over the years has become one the most enigmatic frontmen around. Coupled with the band's instrumental wizardry, especially guitarist Joshua Hayward, The Horrors’ genre explorations feel authentic and earned.
With later this year marking four years since 2017’s ‘V’, next up in The Horrors canon is ‘Lout’.
Beginning on the title track, The Horrors hold very little back. Erupting with a wall of overwhelming industrial guitars that bear down en masse, you might initially be mistaken that you’re listening to The Horrors circa 2007. But you’re not, it’s 2021 and The Horrors have released their heaviest material to date on this unhinged EP. Badwan’s vocals are nasty and coarse, with proceedings momentarily taking a slight diversion into the occult as ominous grouped vocals soar over the track - to then be crushed under the weight under ‘Lout’s instrumentation.
This is then followed by ‘Org’, an instrumental that toes the line between ‘Government Plates’ era Death Grips and the most manic moments of Aphex Twin’s ‘Drukqs’ - it’s properly nuts. Erratic, abrasive and unlike anything they’ve ever done before, ‘Org’ is an electronic tour de force that never holds back.
Finishing up on ‘Whiplash’, The Horrors once again go down the industrial route. Sounding like a track ho99o9 would cook up, ‘Whiplash’s sultry grandeur is a sensory overload. The riffs are dense and cutting, whilst the beats and synths create pockets of volatile and wicked soundscapes. Twisted, nefarious and full of vim, ‘Whiplash’ ends ‘Lout’ on a malevolent high.
Even though ‘Machine’ off of their previous record partially hinted towards this new direction, nothing could prepare us for this. Harkening back to the days of ‘Strange House’, but also moving forward, this industrial future for The Horrors is an interesting and welcoming one. It’s just a shame it’s only three tracks long. Full album please?
Words: Liam Egan
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