The Horrors - Primary Colours (2009)

The Horrors have undertaken a new direction. Here, they’ve channeled My Bloody Valentine, Ride and The Cure. One might dismiss Primary Colours as being derivative. However, the execution is solid. 10 songs, not a single one filler. The record was skillfully produced by Geoff Barlow of Portishead.

Kid-A ambience establishes the album before it does away with such a musical nicety. Drone-y guitars then impose themselves on “Mirror’s Image” and are littered throughout the entire LP. There’s no denying Primary Colours’ referential ambition, mimicking dirty decades past (“Do You Remember” recaps Ride’s career in under 3 and a half minutes). In addition, The Horrors have a somewhat “scene”/fashionable appearance (tight black jeans, black boots, black thin black skinny black anorexic), which could detract from any serious attempts at originality. But whereas Strange House was arguably a style over substance affair, Primary Colours is realised. You only need to look at the album cover. The image has been blurred beyond recognition, the members of the band (and their image) are undistinguished. The music has come to the forefront. On Strange House’s album artwork, The Horrors sat detachedly on a couch attempting to look too-cool-for-convention-school. They weren’t.

Primary Colours still has the signature Horrors’ gothic cathedral organ, like in the opening bars of “Scarlet Fields”. However, the organ is used musically this time around, rather than as a source of menace or horrific suggestion.

“I Only Think of You” stretches for 7 minutes, which by Horrors’ standards is particularly noteworthy. What’s more, the song slogs along with slow dejection. It’s chorus-free and stirs up an authentic misery. It’s one of Primary Colours’ strongest tracks and proposes a musical maturity.

Lead single (and closing track), “Sea Within A Sea”, is an 8 minute marathon of driving bass, far away guitar riffs and hasty drums. Bottles being smashed echo in the chorus and guitars flitter unpredictably. Top track.

The Horrors always had style and now they have substance.

(82 - MF)
Combined Rating = 79


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Monday Field said...

It's nice to hear a band who name-drop the BBC Radiophonic workshop actually incorporate some Delia Derbyshire-esque sounds. Esp in Sea Within a Sea.