Review of The Horrors second album 'Primary Colour' released through XL Recordings.
The Horrors second album is a tricky proposition, particularly for music snobs like myself. It requires the shedding of a facade used to dismiss bands like the one who created Strange House, the London-based five piece's debut album; that a label of 'derivative' is enough to warrant a low score and subsequent shunning. The bands sophomore effort is just as derivative as its predecessor, if not more so, and yet it is infinitely stronger and rewarding.
Some will say the band have hopped onto the rising popularity of shoegaze and krautrock, brought by the return of Portishead, whose Geoff Barrow takes on production duties, and My Bloody Valentine. They are probably right; 'The Horrors' is such a massive left step that it hardly feels like natural progression, with its cavernous walls of sound and near-eight minute drones.
But that is not to say the band do not feel comfortable with their new found sound. Their delivery is just as arrogant as on previous tracks such as 'Sheena Is A Parasite', from the Secret Machines-esque opener 'Mirrors Image' with its dirty electronics and greasy vocals to the Spaceman3/My Bloody Valentine midpoint 'Who Can Say'. Final track and first single 'Sea Within A Sea' closes the album beautifully, owing more to Can's slow slow krautrock build-ups than the noiseinks referenced previously with its throbbing bass-lines, simply drum rolls and sighed vocals that effloresce half-way through into bright synths.
The Horrors may end up being the driving force behind a shoegaze revival. They are definitely the strongest poster boys yet for such a throwback, and with bands such as A Place To Bury Strangers and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart shuffling further into the spotlight they have a fantastic backing. Of course this depends purely on whether The Horrors will choose to remain stationary for long enough for tired scribes to build a scene, and as great as 'The Horrors' is its hard to hope they won't tread new waters if a similar step up in quality could be the result.
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