The Horrors – Primary Colours
The Horrors hail from the U.K., a land where hype and image go a long way to establishing a band, or at least estbalishing a fan base. Luckily for the band, their 2006 debut had the licks to back up the gothic persona of the band; it played like a noisier and longer version of early Misfits records with the fuel of modern contemporaries. This time around, they’ve gone a little bit more indulgent, expanding their palette and their affinity for noise.
While the band toyed with noise throughout their debut, it has a strong focus all over Primary Colours. Opener “Mirror’s Image” is a prelude that deals with creating a brooding sensation for listeners a la Bauhaus before the wall of noise and the Ian Curtis imitations come crashing upon your ears. Okay, so maybe its more Brandon Flowers than Ian Curtis, but since they’re from the U.K., you’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt.
This is where the whole entire album goes. It’s wave of noise and feedback crashing upon wave upon wave upon wave, but if you listen closely, you’ll find something even more sinister than the band’s gothic attire; you will find a pop band masquerading as noise rock. Peel away the layers, and you will find a band not unlike the Killers pogoing about. Now, this isn’t an entirely ominous thing, as some might suppose; clearly the band is full of bubbling bass and other hooks to draw you into their world. Take the closer “Sea Within a Sea,” which is probably one of the strongest tracks on the album. It bobs along for a minutes before the vocals come in to play; the echo behind the vocal once again brings in the darker side of life that one associates with Joy Division records.
Now, the noise is all well and fine, but it occasionally seems to get in the way of what the band does so well, which is create infectious melodies that will attract listeners across spectrums. “Scarlet Fields” is the perfect example of this, as the bass line is everything about pop structure in song-writing. Stir that up with a killer keyboard element during the chorus and you’ll find a hit lurking here. And yes, this song still stirs souls, but it could do even more if they just removed a little bit of the noise and echo that always seems present here.
You’ll find that for those looking for that noisier element in your rock catalogue that The Horrors will definitely be a fitting addition with Primary Colours, but those of you looking for pop gems might find it a little too loud for your ears. All in all, it’s another solid addition to the groups on-going catalogue.