The fruit of all The Horrors have worked to
The Horrors - Skying

In 2006, they arrived. Pipe thin limbs and clad in black, welcomed to a sea of sycophantic press knocked head over heels by what they saw. Image reigned, and they looked just right.

Five material muppets, with faux-cryptic names and a refreshing attitude, siphoned straight from The Cramps. Their debut album ‘Strange House’, an organ-fuelled addiction of brilliantly abrasive punk-rock, slipped under the radar. Yet their image sat at the forefront of print press. Few could get their eyes to let their ears have a listen. It spent as much time on CD players as it shouldn’t have, and the phrase ‘style over substance’ hovered above The Horrors like a stalking rain cloud. Yet here we are; five years on. We’re looking at a fully established, creative heavyweight collective on their third studio album. How did we get here?

Whether patient and brooding or brash and immediate, ‘Skying’ is constantly elevating. Forever driving to invoke emotions. Early track ‘You Said’ wanders and glides at a gentle new wave unwind, before ‘I Can See Through You’ bursts at the synths with an anthemic optimism. At times, the rich, indulgent qualities of The Horrors sound can become excessively testing and ‘Endless Blue’ provides a novel respite to this with its distant, bubbling brass. At halfway, the early release ‘Still Life’ stands alone. The beating heart of the album. An omniscient Faris croons “Don’t hurry, give it time / Things are the way they have to be” with vocals drenched in borrowings of the early-’80s, circa Echo And The Bunnymen or Simple Minds.

Subsequent tracks build on the aforementioned patient brooding. ‘Moving Further Away’ expands into ‘Sea Within A Sea’ strike two proportions, even mimicking a recognisable drum beat, yet not quite in the titanically ethereal manner that the latter captured. Instead, a Pandora’s box-sized soundscape unfolds until minute six, when a savage riff assumes dominance and drives forth into a crashing crescendo. On the sonorous contrary, ‘Oceans Burning’ closes the album with absorbing woebegone, altered guitars and everpresent haunting echoes. Slowly, as they love to do, the track mutates into a completely new song. Thus ending, as a percussive wall of sound, millions of miles from where it began.

‘Skying’ is the fruit of all The Horrors have worked to, and the yield of all they have done. Wholly homemade, from the instruments to the Dalston studio. To the sweeping of every dust particle that came to be when Joshua Third [guitarist] decided to knock the studio wall through himself. Even the twenty-stage phaser that runs through the quivering melodies of ‘Changing The Rain’ was tweaked and assembled by the band themselves. Gone is the ‘Primary Colours’ influences of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, or the punchy impatience of ‘Strange House’, and in that place stands an intellectually collective five-piece, fully immersed in the confidence of their own astonishing abilities.


Words by Joe Zadeh

You can listen to The Horrors' 'Skying' album in full HERE.