After the release of debut LP ‘Strange House’, The Horrors underwent a significant transformation. Gone were the days of the gothic punk fashionista aesthetic, in came the krautrock and shoegaze infused melting pot ‘Primary Colours’. And with every subsequent release, The Horrors have found themselves chasing varying paths and sonic departures. ‘Skying’ showed that ‘Primary Colours’ wasn’t just a fluke, whilst ‘Luminous’ saw the Southend-on-Sea outfit fully immersed in neo-psychedelia and dream pop. But what’s next for The Horrors? Where will they go with ‘V’?
Opener ‘Hologram’ is a track that blends the interstellar nature of ‘Luminous’ with the droning twilight of ‘Primary Colours’. It’s immediately apparent that The Horrors have finally pulled together all their merits into a signature sound. This is the album that they’ve been working towards.
Hints of this revelation were first noticeable on the album’s two lead singles, ‘Machine’ and ‘Something To Remember Me By’. The former taking the shape of an industrial sounding wrecking ball, with abrasive synths and a huge chorus from frontman Faris Badwan, ‘Machine’ is a powerhouse of a track.
However, it’s ‘Something To Remember Me By’ that well and truly confirms The Horrors’ metamorphosis. After covering Frankie Knuckles’ Chicago house classic ‘Your Love’ in 2014, The Horrors have now crafted their own euphoric anthem. Doused in glistening and pulsating electronica, ‘Something To Remember Me By’ flows through your veins and results in possibly the best track The Horrors have made to date.
Elsewhere on the LP ‘Press Enter To Exit’ rides its chunky and Stone Roses-grooved bassline into a shredding finale from pedal board connoisseur Josh Hayward, while the polished and planetary instrumentation of ‘Point Of No Reply’ is one of The Horrors’ finest soundscapes and could have easily been lifted from Mogwai’s latest full length.
This is something The Horrors have always been more than capable of doing, creating vivid and absorbing compositions. The initially skeletal ‘Ghost’ is notable example. Pulling you in with its subdued and somewhat unnerving starting point, ‘Ghost’ evolves into this magnificent display of rolling synthesisers and poised guitars. As for the prismatic and unpredictable ‘World Below’, which sits perfectly next to the melodic and halcyon ‘It’s A Good Life’, The Horrors are crafting exquisite tracks time and time again.
Finally ‘Gathering’, ‘V’s exhibition in acoustic psych pop, is teaming with vitality, while the gradual build of ‘Weighed Down’ is Slowdive’s ‘Souvlaki Space Station’ meets industrial noise.
‘V’ is The Horrors’ most cohesive record to date. Even though it doesn’t carry the same stylistic impact as ‘Primary Colours’ did in 2009 (c’mon, that was a massive leap), ‘V’ is the record that has finally given The Horrors a set identity. Perfecting every element they did so well on their four previous records, ‘V’ is a pure and unadulterated celebration of The Horrors.
Words: Liam Egan
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