The Horrors

Former psych-goth-rockers turn all pop and are better for it

Skying
4/5

We can only imagine the feelings of monstrous offence and detestation that must now be ripping through the garage-psych-goth community, as fans are forced to face the fact that their beloved, formerly frightwigged Horrors have fallen for pop. Big time. This shift in aesthetic was signalled by the growing out of hair dye and the sporting, offstage, of casual threads. (Denim! White shirts! Shorts!) And indeed, Skying reveals a strikingly loose beatsbased, big chorus-loving, widescreen Horrors. The psychotic, darkly carnivalesque sound of their debut and the Suicide-informed krautronica of Primary Colours have been replaced with a blissed-out gloaming, flecked with a mirrorball dazzle that’s both becoming and convincing.

Older ears will hear echoes of The Psychedelic Furs (Faris Badwan often sounds like Richard Butler off the fags) and Simple Minds, but Skying is really rooted in MBV’s woozy, psychedelic pop, as single ‘Still Life’ attests. In fact, if they first tapped into the ’60s, followed by the ’70s, then The Horrors have skipped to the ’90s for their third album. ‘Dive In’ summons the baggy spirit of Paris Angels, while ‘You Said’ bares the kind of divinely heavy, hazy heart that suggests Prefab Sprout remixed by (deep breath) Inspiral Carpets. It’s absolutely gorgeous – really. Elsewhere, ‘Endless Blue’ boasts a buzzsawing, earworm riff, ‘Monica Gems’ revisits Bowie by way of MC5 and the driving ‘I Can See Through You’ and irresistibly monstrous ‘Moving Further Away’ suggest a steroid-pumped MBV. Skying sees The Horrors pivoting mid-career, primed for stadia. Not quite like seeing Bela Lugosi folding balloons maybe, but a brilliant surprise.

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