Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Recommended music: 'Skying' by The Horrors
So, third album in from The Horrors, and talk in the music press of a baggy/shoegaze makeover. Lazy journalism that may be, but there's no denying that this is a vet different proposition to 'Primary Colours'. Produced by the band themselves this time around, the songs are much more open and accessible. Faris's voice sounds better than ever and has been given room to be heard.
The makeover is immediately apparent, as 'Changing The Rain' opens with mellow keyboards and a postive outlook. 'You Said' definitely has that baggy drumbeat, with some simple but effective keyboards and is probably the most 'pop' song they've recorded. 'I Can See Through You' is in more familiar Horrors territory, but is still more straightforward and upbeat than it would've been if it had been on album number 2.
The first half on 'Endless Blue' is a rather dull instrumental, but the second half is much better, with some powerful guitars and interesting chord progressions to the chorus, which does remind me a bit of The Psychedelic Furs. 'Dive In' is another one with that rolling rhythm feel. It's warmly reminiscent of quite a few Northern Nineties bands, and certainly doesn't sound like Southern Southend.
'Still Life' is one of the standout tracks on the album, and it also went down really well live at Wireless Festival last week. Its simple chorus is guaranteed to induce mass singalongs at gigs for years to come, and it sounds surprisingly light and airy from the previously gloomy rockers. 'Wild Eyed' is equally upbeat but is less engaging than the rest of the album. Much better is 'Moving Further Away', which starts with 80's UK pop keyboards, then moves back a decade and across Europe to Germany, although Faris's vocals remain in Human League territory. There's a great keyboard & seagull breakdown in the middle (I hope they were recorded off the end of the pier) and overall it's a really satisfying track.
On 'Monica Gems' the sound veers into Suede territory, with Faris developing some great Anderson-esque vocal sounds, and takes us nicely to final track 'Oceans Burning'. Gripping from the first guitar chord, this is slower-paced and shimmering, a real driving off into the sunset song that shows the band could continue for many more albums to come. The change of pace at the end shows that they are still capable of surprises.
To sum up, it's their most mature and mellow album to date, the sound of a band becoming comfortable with what they can achieve which, on this evidence, is pretty much anything they want to.