Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Live at the 2010 Big Day Out, the Horrors were impressive as a rock band of the old style: black jeans, skinny legs, loud and full of familiar tropes which they delivered with affection and passion.
Some of that translated onto their albums and now on their fifth they reset the direction a little, veering slightly away from their melange of garageband, heroic stadium krautrock and a kind of brooding gesturalism.
They really are quite a mis-named band because they rarely reach towards the Goth end of the spectrum and here the reference points are more along the lines of Bowie synth-rock (the slow-paced Ghost) and early Gary Numan (the crunch and synth-swathes of the emotionally cool Hologram).
Older heads have always found such references in the Horrors' work (a bit of Eighties Liverpool was evident previously) and here the electronic backdrops sometimes hark back to bands like Tangerine Dream -- who seem to be cropping a lot recently as a touchstone -- more than anything in the contemporary landscape.
That's not to say the Horrors don't bring anything of themselves into this broad orbit, but is perhaps too easy to namecheck rather than accept this for what it is: a great sounding album that lyrically suggests more unease than it states, and one which knows the value of a chugging, seven minute synth-rock song (Something to Remember Me By which is New Order-meets-Suede) to get a stadium moving.
A few more abrasive tracks like Weighed Down would not have gone amiss.
Yes, the Horrors are a bit too obviously the sum of influences to be considered original but on the evidence here they would, once again, be worth seeing live.