Sunday, 14 August 2011


Artist: The Horrors
Album: Skying
Release Date: 11/7/2011

The Horrors reach new stratospheric heights with their third album

In a world where the music industry, and more directly music fans, are the most fickle incarnations known to man, it's very hard for a band to know what to do after releasing their debut album. If The Horrors had stuck to the same sound that they churned out on their 2006 debut "Strange House", then they would have accused of being complacent throwbacks, harking back to a time irrelevant to anyone who didn't want to dig any deeper underground than Klaxons.

At the same time, the band took a massive risk with their 2009 second album "Primary Colours" which roped in a more shoe-gaze/ post- punk style and drew heavily on the influence of Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine- So far removed was the sound from their debut that, whilst now more versatile, they were in danger of alienating the black- clad, eyeliner worshiping hordes they had garnered with the unexpected success of "Strange House."

However in 2011 it seems that any concerns that the band had of alienating anyone have long flown out the window, because "Skying" is a different beast entirely. On "Primary Colours" The Horrors certainly proved they were dab- hands at a variety of different sounds, but it's with "Skying" that they provide real substance to that statement. It's an album that with its newly found resonance in sky- kissing psychedelic pop, yearns with ambition.

Opener "Changing The Rain" opens up with cavernous percussion before exploding brightly into a flurry of soaring synths and darkly wailing guitar lines. Immediately this is a new Horrors; They now churn forward with a sense of open- armed grandiose and no more are the melodies stripped back by a persistent lo- fi fog. This is The Horrors truly opening up and releasing all the creativity that their juices allow them. "You Said" is full of echoing atmospherics, and even the ingredient of brass horns makes a penetrating appearance. The song is also packed out with reverbed- out guitars and gorgeous, twinkling and star- gazing synths. "Still Life," the album's lead- off single, is a life- affirming slice of organic euphoria. Glacial and rushing synths carry the song along with a starry- eyed sense of wonder, whilst a pulsating drum- beat meticulously keeps the song moving forward. It's perhaps the most euphoric and stratospheric song the band have ever conjured.

The eight minute thirty seconds of "Moving Further Away" embodies the entire ethic of a 2020 dance floor; Twirling synths and psychedelic swirls lead the way into a clashing, apocalyptic close of dramatic synths and crunching guitars. Closer "Oceans Burning" swarms itself in a lo- fi haze and is propelled along by a mournful, ghostly appeal, before climaxing in wispy and haunting synths.

As much as "Skying" does sometimes seem like a sum of its parts, The Horrors now have a new target. No longer are they confined by any walls of sonics or criticism; They are fully fledged beasts now, ready to take flight high into the sky and beyond. And they'll keep moving forward- They never look back.

Download: 1) Still Life, 2) Moving Further Away, 3) You Said
For Fans of: The Psychedelic Furs, The Verve, Suede


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