When The Horrors first burst onto the scene in 2005 a lot of what they were about was their image. Big hair and skinny jeans, their appearance was even the basis for a episode of the Mighty Boosh. But one thing is for sure; despite all the aesthetic thought that went into how they looked, the band always produced good indie-rock music. However, this could sometimes be overlooked in those early days.
That being said here we are 12 years later, and the five-piece have just released their fifth studio full-length V, which has a very strong case for being the best work they have ever produced. A complete removal from the bratty gothic garage punk vibe of debut record Strange House, V has more in common with Radiohead, Cold Cave and Depeche Mode than it does with Sonic Youth.
Right off the bat the record introduces the tone of what is to follow through opening track, ‘Hologram’, with an electronic tinge and the fuzz of a synthesiser ringing out before we hear a single word utter by front man Faris Badwan. When we do hear the vocalist it is soothing and relaxed with an echo of Gary Numan to it.
The Horrors may have been a band which many would have faded away, but if you compare the opening track of their debut album to the opening track of V they are worlds apart.
When delving a little deeper into the record Badwan’s lyrics seem to be pointing out the self realisation of the band and the music industry in general and how the two have maybe not walked hand-in-hand. With words like “Are we hologram? / Are we vision?” in ‘Hologram’, “Your mannequin moves / You ghost through the motions” in ‘Machine’ and “It’s a good life / Until it’s gone” on ‘It’s a Good Life’ maybe the vocalist is trying to say something to the audience.
With only two songs clocking in under five mines, V really is a masterpiece of work and it feels like The Horrors have come to the end of their evolution and reached the pinnacle where they belong. This pure genius is truly displayed on the track ‘Ghost’; a heavy electronic sound, but with a haunting undertone and which the pitch changes it leaves you feeling a little unnerved but in a way that you welcome as the consumer.
V is an album which confirms The Horrors as one of the most consistently surprising, most artistically sophisticated bands in the modern era.
V is out now via Wolf Tone/Caroline International.