When band members get involved in side projects, this can sometimes be a sign that the daily grind of their “day job” is beginning to bore them. It was only a few months ago that The Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan released a well received album with soprano Rachel Zeffra as Cats’ Eyes, whilst Rhys Webb and Tom Cowan have made use of spare time with electronica outfit Spider And The Flies.
However, if this time can be spent to get creative and broaden the horizons, then there is no problem. Indeed, as a surefire gesture of their growing confidence, The Horrors’ third long player is entirely self-produced.
‘Changing The Rain’ is an early indication of their class. The sound effects blur into each other like classic My Bloody Valentine but – rare for a “shoegaze” act – the vocals of Faris Badwan are strident and dominant. ‘You Said’ bounces off emotionally swooping choruses and hooklines; making them rivals for Chapel Club in terms of making the best dreampop songs of the year. ‘Endless Blue’ begins at glacial pace but then rides along dirty riffs. ‘Moving Further Away’ builds on metronomic rhythms a la Kraftwerk whilst ‘Monica Gems’ sounds like Suede at the depths of their anguish (and if you’re familiar with their work, that’s very deep indeed).
In such fine company, ‘I Can See Through You’, the most anthemic song here, does feel a little bit disposable. ‘Dive In’ recalls Chapterhouse, one of the original shoegaze bands but leads to a brief lull consisting of the unremarkable ‘Still Life’ and ‘Wild Eyed’.
‘Skying’ seems clearer and more obviously melodic than its predecessor. It’s still dark but noticeably less gothic in its outlook and possibly even more shoegaze-driven than before. It’s a brave move given many people’s indifference to the genre but The Horrors have the charisma, the rhythm and the tunes to ride roughshod over any critics and win over the masses.
My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse, Chapel Club