Thursday, December 31, 2009

Albums of the Year, 2009 : 12 - The Horrors - Primary Colours

"Numerous bands have staged unlikely comebacks and taken surprising changes of direction over the years, but The Horrors seemed dead and buried by the end of 2007. The contrast between Strange House and their startling comeback single, “Sea Within a Sea,” is comparable to My Bloody Valentine’s shift between the buzzsaw pop of “Strawberry Wine” in 1987 and the following year’s “You Made Me Realise.” Somehow, at the precise moment when the odds stacked against them seemed insurmountable, The Horrors dug deep, broadened their scope of influences, and produced this remarkable album.

Like their debut, those influences are still keenly felt, although they do a much better job of transcending them on Primary Colours. If the band members were held under the considerable sway of the Nuggets boxed sets during their formative years, they’ve now replaced those with a clutch of shoegaze and krautrock records. Guitarist Joshua Third demonstrates his affinity for Kevin Shields’ “glide” guitar style as opening track “Mirror’s Image” unfolds, and he often returns to it throughout the album.

Third really takes that sound and makes it his own on one of the strongest songs in this set, “Scarlet Fields.” The track is initially reminiscent of the creepily quiet early Cure records, only with great surges of heavily trebled noise puncturing the silence, with Third delivering short bursts of backward guitar as singer Faris Badwan supplies a perfect baritone drawl. It’s not just the guitar noise that ties Primary Colours to the shoegaze movement, it’s the overall sound. Like Ride or Slowdive, The Horrors produce a wash of sound, in which Badwan’s vocals are no more or less important than the other instrumentation."

- Andrew Winistorfer, Prefix Magazine

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