HORRORS – Primary Colours (XL)
I have never really bothered much about The Horrors, having lived through Goth the first time round, and having no wish to experience a second wave. However, when rumours started to filter through that the band had decided to add some 60’s psychedelia to their music my interest was piqued, and further investigation was required. ‘Mirror’s Image’ is my first introduction to this new direction, and the moody synth lines and wall of discordant guitar certainly make the music more interesting. ‘Three Decades’ is more of the same, only taken at twice the pace, and Geoff Barrow’s production is definitely a large part of their new sound, with the song having an eerie, other-wordly feel. ‘Who Can Say’ is a great fuzzed-up rocker with solid drumming, and guitars overloaded with feedback giving the music more than a hint of The Jesus And Mary Chain. Other influences abound throughout the album, with the massed guitars of ‘Do You Remember’ bringing to mind My Bloody Valentine, and ‘Scarlet Fields’ drum and synth giving a nod to Neu!, but at least they are paying homage to some of the greats. One of the best tracks to hear their new direction is ‘New Ice Age’, as I can almost imagine it being done by some late 60’s garage band, while the seven minute ‘I Only Think Of You’ is another JAMC influenced song - this time one of their slower ones – but to me it sounds decidedly out of tune and is not a particularly pleasant listen. ‘I Can’t Control Myself’ is much better, with its insistent riff, rattling percussion, and backwards guitar solo all highlighting their new psychedelic leanings. The title track is a good attempt at a pop song, but perhaps just a little to staid when sandwiched between ‘I Can’t Control Myself’ and first single ‘Sea Within A Sea’. This latter song was the first time that fans heard the new sound, and it was generally agreed that it was the perfect song to introduce them to the band’s reinvention. With its Kraftwerk rhythms and avant garde middle eight it was as far removed from their previous songs as possible, but the reaction has been pretty unanimously positive, and the risk paid off. I must admit that I never thought that I would be writing a glowing review of a Horrors record, but they have grown so much since their debut that it is like hearing a different band, and if they can just rein in their tendency to wear their influences on their sleeves then the next one could be even better.