The Horrors are back with their longest album up to date. This time, the choice of the producer falls on Paul Epworth (producer of FKA Twigs, Rihanna, Lorde and Adele, among others) with a view to undertake, as advisable as possible, the smoothed roads of their last record Luminous. At this stage of their career as musicians, understandably, The Horrors wanted everything but to publish a facsimile of one of their previous efforts. In doing so, they’ve put out a record which succeeds in combining in 54 minutes synth pop atmospheres from the ’80 (comparisons with early Simple Minds aren’t a long shot at all) with flickers of a modern shoegaze and a hint of noise rock, adding a pop-up dancefloor to the formula.
The act from Southend-On-Sea, except for the frantic debut that “Strange House” (2007) represented, always had a thing for playing with space. Regardless of the general vibe or the sound of each of their different works, instrumentals always stood out as covered by a sort of ring of steam. A foretaste of this was given on several sections of Primary Colours first (the graceful 8 minute long “Sea Within A Sea” above all), to be definitely confirmed later with Skying in 2011; This new record makes no exception, definitely being an important one for the band.
With their trademark gothic aura still there, on “V” The Horrors don’t hesitate to shuffle cards and take tangible risks: and this could be one of the reasons why they’re one of the few alternative bands of their generation still having huge success. “Possibly, with the last album, we felt there were points when it could have been better and maybe we should have challenged ourselves more. So one decision we made as a band was that it was time to work creatively in a different way” reports Faris Badwan in an interview for Vice. And this is exactly what they did, injecting shots of alternative dance and tinge of industrial into their music, channeling the bright light of Luminous in a new direction, paring a very good songwriting with a crisp production. Vocal lines, which up to Skying were knowingly and slightly shrouded by guitar walls and synths, follow the direction taken with the recent Luminous, emerging even more from the various sonic carpet, acquiring a more pop nature.
Unexpected one-minute breakdowns of lunar guitars ( Press Enter To Exit) throw the listener directly into the following track, while violent explosions of synths (Ghost) and even timid acoustic guitars (Gathering) contribute to the purpose. These reasons are already enough to make this an important record for the band.
The elegant and majestic stride of “Endless Blue” is long gone, yet Horrors are still capable of making a cohesive record from start to finish capturing one of the best moments of their musical journey. A consistent step forward from their enjoyable yet harmless previous record Luminous.