Jul 26, 2011 Web Exclusive
On their third album, Skying, The Horrors have completely shed all the goth trappings that originally defined them. While their sophomore album, Primary Colours, was a bold step out of the gloom with its shoegaze textures and Krautrock rhythms, Skying sounds like an entirely different band. True to its title, Skying embraces a Technicolor, wall-of-sound grandeur. It's pretty much The Horrors gone Imax and the results are surprisingly fantastic.
Although Primary Colours featured plenty of flanged guitar and other My Bloody Valentine-isms, Skying conjures another shoegaze touchstone: Ride. This influence was already made clear earlier this year via "Cat's Eyes"—a track from vocalist Faris Badwan's side-project Cat's Eyes that shamelessly cribs Ride's "Seagull." Not to mention, Badwan's voice bares an uncanny resemblance to that of Ride's Mark Gardener. This isn't to say that Skying is Nowhere Pt. 2. An ambiguous, but persistent, influence of Britpop pervades the album as well. "Moving Further Away" dabbles in Kraftwerkian motorik pop, and "Monica Gems" revels in the kind of modernist psych purveyed by Tame Impala.
The songs on Skying are dense, towering, and occasionally overstuffed. Loops, backward guitar effects, and horns are all woven in with the phalanx of guitars, synths, and drums. While this maximalist approach mostly results in such stirring epics as "Changing the Rain" and "You Said," it also leads to clunky jams like "Endless Blue." Best of all is "Still Life"—the galloping, bass-driven single that nods strongly to New Order and The Verve. The Horrors are probably one of the last NME-touted bands that one would ever expect to hear writing uplifting anthems worthy of Richard Ashcroft, but here they are knocking out killer bittersweet symphonies.
Along with the band's newfound love of bigger, brighter music comes a brighter outlook as well. On "Still Life," Fadwan gently warns: "Slow down, give it time/Still life, you know I'm listening/The moment that you want is coming if you give it time." Sounds like The Horrors finally got their moment. (http://www.thehorrors.co.uk)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10