Thursday, August 4th, 2011
Moving Further Away
Review of The Horrors’ Skying
Neil KrugThose of us who dismissed The Horrors as gimmicky flash in the pans based on their 2007 debut Strange House were left eating our words with their follow up, 2009’s massive and grinding Primary Colours. With the assistance of producer Geoff Barrow, all the band’s cartoonish aspects (stage surnames included) were jettisoned in favour of a goth-y and raw, yet melodic aesthetic that evoked the most aggressive aspects of ’80s British New Wave and ’90s shoegaze. As far as reinventions went, this was a pretty damned successful one and if the band continued to use Primary Colours as a template for future works, no one would be surprised or disappointed.
What Skying, the band’s third effort, proves however is that remaining creatively stationary is not in the game plan. Self-produced this time out, it uses Primary Colours as a jumping-off point but despite utilizing a similar palette of sounds, it paints a markedly different picture. It comes across both less aggressively and less immediately pop than its predecessor and while you might reasonably wonder what that leaves, the answer is plenty. Skying retains enough of the deliciously abrasive guitar textures and swooping synths that roped in so many last time out, but the songs are more midtempo and laden with a romantic lushness that should be familiar to those who’ve heard frontman Faris Badwan’s throwback pop side-project Cat’s Eyes (and if you haven’t, you should).
This is not to say that Skying is soft – numbers like “I Can See Through You” and plenty other moments cut like anything they’ve ever done – but there’s a greater willingness to explore the nuances of what they’re doing, and that makes for a deeper and more challenging but ultimately more rewarding listen. But perhaps more exciting than the album itself is the realization that The Horrors have no shortage of ideas or inspiration and perhaps most importantly, no desire to repeat themselves.
Skying is out in North America next Tuesday, August 9. Their North American tour kicks off in just over a month and hits Lee’s Palace in Toronto on September 27. The Skinny has an interview with the band about making the new record.
Male Bonding will warm up for their September 2 show at The Horseshoe on September 2 with an in-store down the street at Kops Records at 6PM that same evening. Their new album Endless Now is out August 30.
UK dubstep DJ SBTRKT will play a live show at The Hoxton – formerly known as but still located at 69 Bathurst – on November 3. Odds of Drake showing up as a surprise guest on “Wildfire” as he did at Wrongbar last month? Probably not great. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW.
Last week I pointed you at a stream of the first finished recording from former Long Blonde Kate Jackson; said track is now available to download and keep and repeat. Also check out some demos at her Soundcloud.
They’re refusing to call it an Arab Strap reunion, but Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat did get together again for the purpose of recording a characteristically grim cover of Slow Club’s new single – stream it and read some commentary from Moffat at The Quietus. Slow Club’s Paradise – from which the original song is taken – is out September 12.
The Jezabels are sharing the first MP3 from their new record Prisoner, even though it’s not out until Spring of next year. At least you can hear it and other new tunes when the band plays The Phoenix on November 24 opening up for Hey Rosetta!.