Of all the haircut bands that filled the hype-vacuum left by new-rave’s
implosion at the end of 2006,
you’d have got long odds on those five weirdos from Southend being the ones still making relevant music nearly a decade on.
After all, the Horrors were initially a flash of outsider bravado – the ultimate A&R man’s folly
using their blunt eyeliners and hastily signed majorlabel contracts to deflect suspicions that they couldn’t really play or write songs.
Perhaps the most cartoonish of all their peers, with their Halloween hair, cheaply punned stage names and guest appearances on The Mighty Boosh, the Horrors were so clearly, delightfully,
learning on the job that their music almost became of secondary interest to their plight: a reality-TV
style fascination grew up around how long this gang of oddballs were going to get away with it for.
- Beirut Brixton Academy London
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In that context, then, it’s quite the achievement that eight years and
four albums later ‘Luminous’ is their first true dud.
Where their previous albums have documented the state of their instincts at the time – ‘Strange House’’s graveyard hysterics,
‘Primary Colours’’s teutonic magnificence and ‘Skying’’s high-buffed swagger ‘Luminous’ is the prosaic sound of the Horrors using their heads rather than their hearts,
playing safe with a collection of songs that only recall older, better ones, and a sound palette that aspires towards ‘Loveless’,
but comes out closer to ‘Leisure’.
Indeed, Blur’s patchy debut is invoked here not just in ‘Luminous’’ shonky
welding of break beats to guitarpedal acrobatics but also in the almost comically bland, faux-hippie lyrics.
While sure, not all great pop needs to achieve a Nick Cave level of literary dexterity,
The Horrors Luminous the sound of Faris Badwan singing endlessly about seeing the bright sun and feeling the cold wind hardly inspires hope.
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