Tag Archive: The Horrors

I See You

For the lead single of their upcoming fourth album, Luminous, The Horrors have kept the momentum they built with their 2011 effort, Skying. The guitars are less aggressive, the synths more dominant and the melodies more pronounced. With the synths creating the image of light filtering through the trees as you drive on the highway, Faris Badwan’s voice crescendos, drops and builds back up throughout “I See You.” The chorus’ guitar riff borrows the echoing chords from A Flock of Seagulls, but the spaced-out, wavy second half is pure Horrors. It may be a long track, clocking in at seven minutes, but it keeps your attention. Somehow, you can simultaneously listen closely or zone out and get just as much out of it.

This article first appeared at Consequence of Sound on July 22nd, 2011.

When The Horrors dropped Primary Colors two years ago, it was the very definition of a breakthrough success. It picked up a nomination for the Mercury Prize, and found its way onto many critics’ 2009 year-end lists, including our own. But if that album was a breakthrough, then Skying cements the band as a major force in modern music, and captures their unstoppable growth, too.

From the first mechanical gear of “Changing The Rain”, it’s apparent just how much better everything sounds. The textures are more varied, the guitar work is subtle, and the vocals are stronger. There are no “standard” tracks here. Every number attempts something at least a little differently, and succeeds for the most part.

Throughout, the synthesizer work of Tom Cowan is especially noteworthy, but every track has its unique breath of fresh air. “You Said” is full of abrasive, buzzing noise that slides into the background. “I Can See Through You” opens with a disco-meets-early-’90s synth that demands dance floor attention, until a downpour of heavy guitar insists on moshing, instead. “Endless Blue” contains a hazy, summer feel supplemented by a masked horn section.

Highlights abound here. First up is the single “Still Life”, complete with looped tape effects, a bell-shaped keyboard pattern, and a slamming drumbeat. Faris Badwan’s wavy wording in the verses, and the straightforward belting in the chorus just sticks to your brain. A couple tracks later, the eight-minute “Moving Further Away” arrives. Keyboard arpeggios bounce back and forth among shakers and drums, while the mid-section’s low-key guitar acts as a quasi-anti-solo. The notes and sounds spread out dramatically, letting the reverb and occasional silent gap transport the listener to the next part. Oh, and then there’s the battle of sound between iridescent synths and the caw of seagulls. Groovy.

The Horrors have always made their influences clear to see. When you hear a song like “Who Can Say”, you can tell which artist made an impact on their sound for that piece. With Skying, the band has moved on to their own distinct personality by simply evolving. Don’t believe us? Well, as Badwan says, “You’re never certain of anything/unless you go in.”


This article first appeared at Consequence of Sound on August 29th, 2009.

After seeing Nine Inch Nails play its second to last show in New York on the Wave Goodbyetour, it was more than obvious that Trent Reznor is leaving at the top of his game. The club show at Terminal 5 in Manhattan was a straight-up, brutally beautiful attack on the audience’s eyes and ears.

Before NIN hit the stage, however, the crowd was treated to the alternative style of The Horrors. With a unique sound that combines garage rock with shoegaze, singer Faris Badwan spent most of the concert in full goth star mode. His vocals sounded like a harder version of Robert Smith, which meshed surprisingly well with the group’s juxtaposed sound.

When 9 p.m. rolled around, the stage filled with fog as Robin Finck, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Ilan Rubin, and Trent Reznor took the stage. After opening with “Home”, the band really moved ahead with “Terrible Lie”. The audience of 3,000 screamed out the lyrics as a mosh pit quickly formed in the middle of the club. Reznor ended the song by screaming out the final lyrics and knocking over his microphone with his guitar. This on-stage brutality only doubled during “March of the Pigs”, which had the ill-tempered frontman chucking his mic stand behind the drum set. He may be pushing 50, but Reznor has more energy than most other frontmen who are in their 20s.

The rest of the main set fiddled about the band’s entire discography — everything from Pretty Hate Machine, to their free 2008 release, The Slip. After about an hour, Reznor told a story about Nine Inch Nails’ earliest shows in 1990. While he claimed that they were pretty bad, he remembered that one of the first artists to give him a chance was “Godfather of Goth,” Peter Murphy. The Bauhaus singer then came out to nearly deafening applause. He joined Nine Inch Nails for “Reptile” and two covers, Bauhaus’ “Kick In The Eye” and Joy Division’s “Dead Souls.”

While the hits were well represented throughout the show’s entirety, the band treated even the most hardcore of its fans. Songs such as “Wish”, “Eraser”, “The Fragile”, and “1,000,000” delivered the same punch as the bigger hits, thanks to the band’s unchecked enthusiasm.

By the time NIN closed their show with “Hurt”, they had played for more than two hours and gone through every stage of their now 20-year career. Reznor thanked all his fans for their loyalty over the years before playing the emotional song. When the song ended, he simply left with a wave.

Even though Reznor may be exiting stage left out of fear of becoming a parody, it seems like there’s no chance of that ever happening. He’s managed to stay relevant long after all his peers have fallen by the wayside. And while it’s a shame that he’s decided to leave, at least he’s giving his fans what they want for one final time.

Photo support courtesy Jeff

Terrible Lie
The Beginning of the End
March Of The Pigs
The Line Begins To Blur
I’m Afraid of Americans
The Big Come Down
Gave Up
La Mer
The Fragile
Non Entity
The Way Out Is Through
Letting You
Kick In The Eye
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole

The Frail
The Wretched
The Day The World Went Away
Dead Souls