The Horrors – V
V sees The Horrors return to the abrasive noise they flirted with in their early days
After the goth punk experiments that brought The Horrors their initial exposure, the band soon found their groove and matured into a solid 'two-three year album cycle' outfit. Primary Colours and Skying saw them operating at peak performance, melding post-punk, shoegaze and psychedelia into beautiful and original soundscapes. After a lukewarm response to the fairly complacent shoegaze/dream-pop of Luminous in 2014, it's understandable that the band would want to shake things up.
V sees The Horrors return to the abrasive noise they flirted with in their early days, moving on from a simple garage-rock fuzziness to moments of real industrial muscle worthy (in snapshots) of Throbbing Gristle or Einstürzende Neubauten (see: Machine, the end of Press Enter to Exit, or the bridge of Ghost).
However, these are no mere exercises in aural stamina; each sound is crafted and utilised efficiently, without any superfluous flourishes. The snappy World Below is a wonderful example of the way that noise can frame what is essentially a pop song without pushing it into avant-garde territory or diminishing the melody.
The influence of Faris Badwan's underrated side-project, Cat's Eyes, can be seen sprinkled throughout the album, from the echoic clarity of the vocals in Press Enter to Exit, and Weighed Down, to the operatic tenderness on It's a Good Life, not to mention the renewed focus on direct, emotional lyricism.
Elsewhere there is a return to the electronic embellishments that made Primary Colours such a hit, through the ghostly disco of Point of No Reply, and the positively danceable Something to Remember Me By, which ends the album on a real punch-in-the-air moment. Overall, V feels like a consolidation of all of the strengths that The Horrors have built up over the last ten years, tightly bundled and perfectly accessible without sacrificing any of their artistic integrity.
Listen to: Something to Remember Me By, World Below, Point of No Reply