Doing internship at Vice Magazine has its merits.
The Horrors: Primary Colours
So we’re driving back from The Breeders‘ ATP (yeah, I know, review’s to follow…) and I reach forward with The Horrors‘ latest one, intimating to The Boy Kelly, appointed Jukebox Coordinator for the return journey, only to be rebuffed with the words, ‘Naw playin tha cartoon goth shite.’
After much ‘just give it a chance, will youse‘, we’re entering the boarded up waistland of Edge Lane, and soft lad in the passenger seat has relented and it feels kinda apt that the claustrophobic white noize of New Ice Age is screeching from the plastic dashboard speakers as we fly by steel sheets for doors and ‘NO ELECTRICS’ daubed on brick walls to deter squatters and skagheads.
Sure The Horrors may have raided their big brother’s record collection, but there’s simply no denying their delectable taste: heavy, hard no-wave, Joy Division, The Cramps, Can, The Cure and The Mary Chain are all influences safety-pinned to the mast – but who cares when it sounds this fantastic.
There was more than a little hint of their gradual transformation when Faris and co. gatecrashed Portishead’s ATP back in December 07; indeed from that initial declaration of adoration of The Sonics pre-Strange House, it’s fair to say The Horrors were an open book confessing their true love – they just hadn’t found a way of expressing it properly.
Well, Primary Colours is the sound of a band not just finding their feet, but kicking down the doors with confidence and full-blooded abandon.
Typified in first single proper, Who Can Say, you’ve buzzsaw guitars on full throttle, rampant kickdrum and Faris thrust to the fore – his vocal leaping through the hiss; all dismissive and sneering with his own kiss-off monologue to a former beau.
Aside from the more abrasive yet instant rushes of Three Decades and Do You Remember, there’s the more daring compositions such as the funeral dirge of the seven-minute I Only Think Of You which finds Faris in full-on crooner mode as Coffin Joe does his best one-hand drum crash amid creaking violin while Scarlet Fields, with it’s warped drones and shimmering electronic whooshes could easily have dropped off Loveless.
As noted before closer Sea Within A Sea couldn’t have ripped off Can‘s Mother Sky more successfully, but in the context of Primary Colours, the eight minute closer doesn’t just feel vindicated, it feels impossibly their own and a celebratory climax to a quite remarkable metamorphosis.
As we pulled up to Old Hall Street to drop the Boy Kelly off on his afternoon shift at Post & Echo Towers, he reached in to grab his bag, wave ta-ta after another bonza weekend before signing off with the words, ‘Oh, and can you do us a copy of that Horrors record?‘
For fans of: Pathology, John George Haigh, soup kitchens.
The Horrors: Who Can Say
The Horrors: Sea Within A Sea