The Horrors – Skying // ALBUM REVIEW

The Horrors are back with a follow up to their incredible ‘Primary Colours’ which was voted the number 1 album of 2009 by NME and received a load of praise. Is ‘Skying’ going to let us down?

Well you see back in the days of Strange House, The Horrors were slagged off by critics they had two real options, to sack off the music industry and be the gothic, dark band they were OR they could give a middle finger to all the naysayers in a rebirth. Of course The Horrors were reborn with ‘Primary Colours’ and they moved forward away from the era of Strange House (in which they were compared to The fucking Automatic) and moved into a whole new era of praise.

Skying does truly show Strange House is gone, I saw them live just three days ago, and  a few audience members were shouting ‘sell outs’, mind you these were the twats who were moshing to the beginning of  ‘Sea Within A Sea’. In all honesty live at Wireless I was disappointed, they were no where near as good as at Underage a few years back, but that was mainly because being the up-yours band they are The Horrors were not afraid to play all their songs from Skying which the crowd didn’t know and stretched them out so each lasted around 7 minutes long.

The album begins with a very ‘loose’ track with messy claps called ‘Changing The Rain’ this track was one the last tracks they were working on but they liked it so much they made it the album opener and I can see why. The loud and loose synth flows in a strange entrancing way over the messy claps and strong drum beats this is all complimented by Faris’ vocals which gives a very erie yet joyful  kind of feel,

The next track is ‘You Said’ a very vocal dominated song accompanied by some shakey delayed guitar lines and light keyboards. ‘You Said’ is apparently a Tears For Fears influenced song with a hint of a lost artist Black. ‘You Said’ keeps you guessing and interested constantly, there is never a boring section, things get added each verse and each chorus and you find yourself spaced out trying to absorb all it has to offer.

‘I Can See Through You’ is the next track which The Horrors managed to bust out for about 6 minutes at Wireless,  at first listen you don’t think much of this but that is because it isn’t really like anything off Strange House or Primary Colours it is very different live, it was the one track that got the crowd going even though they didn’t know what to sing or when to jump. ‘I Can See Through You’ despite having the whisper of Primary Colours does have hints of the Strange House kind of style which will make this a big song for all Horrors fans old and new.

‘Endless Blue’ opened The Horrors set at Wireless, the lazy introduction was complimented as Faris wandered out with a cup of coffee sipping leisurely while the other of the members of the band effortlessly strummed along. The start of the track is a nice mingle of bass and brass giving a nice new sound to The Horrors and giving Skying a distinctive sound. According to The Horrors they wrote this song on a Monday, explaining their lazy introduction which then shifts sharply into the lively riff. ‘Endless Blue’ is a Horrors track which will be heard a lot over the coming festivals.

‘Dive In’ has a very hippy guitar line and rhythm to it. The drums immediately establish the groove and vibe and creates a psychedelic and powerful mood. This psychedelic feel of ‘Dive In’ entrances you into a dark trippy nightmare which eventually breaks down into a slow kind of mystical section where you hear only bass drums and lengthy vocals. This track is one of the more powerful ones on the album and the track builds up more and more until a sharp drop into ‘Still Life’.

‘Still Life’ is the first single from Skying and I cannot support their decision to release that first anymore than I do. It sends out exactly the right message of what Skying is about, it shows the brass which is a key new factor to The Horrors, the more melodic vocal lines and more joyful kind of tracks that makes Skying what it is, ‘Still Life’ is a must buy if you haven’t already got it, the synthyness of this track is very much like 1980’s kind of synth and it really is entrancing.

‘Wild Eyed’ is the shortest track on the album and it’s 4 minutes long, you wouldn’t expect a 4 minute song to feel like its over too fast, but it does. It’s very relaxed and once again the return of the trumpets add something spectacular to the end of this track. This one of the first tracks written for Skying (after Still Life) explaining its chilled out vibe and relaxing melody.

Now for the ‘Sea Within A Sea’ track to Skying ‘Moving Further Away’, it’s longer, it’s stronger, it’s got more going on throughout. Is it as good? It’s different. ‘Sea Within A Sea’  was less synthy this is very much like The Human League with it’s monotonous synth riff. I must say at Wireless when they were playing this I was thinking, when will this fucking end but thats because It’s a grower, but can an 8 minute track afford to be a grower? Was ‘Sea Within A Sea’? You will have to decide if you like this track, I do like it, it’s very chilled out and again like ‘You Said’ it’s intriguing it has loads of different parts to space out and listen out for.

‘Monica Gems’ is the heaviest and messiest track on Skying, it’s still got hints of the past, you can hear Strange House in this. However, it’s built upon the foundations of british music in the 60’s and is full of brit pop influence of the 90’s as well. Josh’s new instrument is used as the key instrument in this track and provides the whirring that is key to ‘Monica Gems’

‘Oceans Burning’ is possibly the nicest and best thing The Horrors have written. It has the brit pop tint to it again and the vibraphone and distorted whirring reminds me A LOT of  blur. A ‘Sea Within A Sea’ sized track again ‘Oceans Burning’ is very unique and very powerful track. Faris’ vocals really add a beautiful touch to this song and it really is the best way to finish Skying with some of British melancholy which back in the era of Strange House would have probably been released as a screaming pile if shit rather than this musical odyssey. The second half of this track, when the drums kick in and really drive it leads us into a fully of sound and power and it really does finish Skying in a phenomenal way.

Skying may not get as much praise as Primary Colours as it won’t be so shocking this time that The Horrors have created an amazing album, whereas 3 years ago nobody would have expected the next two albums from The Horrors to be as amazing as they are. Skying is a time machine throughBritish music eras, it has hints of the 60’s, 80’s and the 90’s and Is just incredibly intriguing.


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