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The Shock!!! The Horrors Reemerge With A New Sound

The New Now

I'm all for change. I like it when bands make a progression by switching things up musically rather than sticking with the same sound from album to album (Hello, Green Day!) or their entire career. That's why I'm pretty jazzed about the Horrors and their recently released sophomore set, Primary Colours. Check out the video clip below for "Who Can Say," directed by one-time Jesus & the Mary Chain member Douglas Hart. It's one of several fine tracks from the album.

When the Horrors first emerged on the scene in 2005, the British fearsome fivesome specialized in gothic-tinged garage rock with nods to the Sonics, Screaming Lord Sutch, and the Fuzztones. The band soon earned a reputation for its frantic live shows, over-the-top image with big hair, tight black trousers, and the obligatory punk pseudonyms including singer Faris Badwan, who once went by the name Rotter; guitarist Joshua Third aka Von Grimm, bassist Tomethy Furse, keyboardist Spider Webb, and drummer Coffin Joe. The band's debut single was a cover of Screaming Lord Sutch's "Jack The Ripper" backed with the Ramones-go-to-hell wallop of "Sheena Is A Parasite." Those two tracks turned up on Strange House, the band's 2007 debut album, which also included the likes of "Count In Fives" and "Death At The Chapel." Brace yourself for the "Sheena Is A Parasite" video clip below.

Yet a funny thing happened in the days after Strange House. The Horrors switched record labels and completely re-imagined their sound, basically going from punky garage rock to atmospheric post-punk with elements of krautrock and shoegaze thrown in (as suggested by the Primary Colours' blurry album cover.) Helping them make the move was a trio of producers--Craig Silvey, filmmaker Chris Cunningham, and perhaps most importantly, Geoff Barrow of Portishead. Joshua Von Grimm recently told Interview magazine that Primary Colours is a natural progression for the band. "We've always wanted to move forward. And the shift forward was already beginning on our debut: If you listen to a song like 'A Train Roars,' you can see we were already moving into very different territory from the earlier tracks. We're very easily bored, so we knew we had to evolve. And Primary Colours took shape very organically," he said.

The band met Barrow after he invited them to perform at an All Tomorrow's Parties Festival he was curating. Surprisingly, though, the Horrors claim that Barrow wasn't a huge influence in the band's decision to change its sound. "We'd already recorded many ideas for the new album prior to meeting Geoff, so he didn't really dictate the direction at all, Von Grimm added. "Geoff is about preserving the integrity of those ideas."

Whatever the case, Primary Colours is a fine album and I urge you to seek it out. Check out the clip for "Sea Within A Sea" below and let me know what you think of the Horrors and if you prefer your favorite bands to change with the times or stick to a specific sound.

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