13 Jun 2017

The Horrors Return...

They’re back! The Horrors are back! Time for journos and scribblers everywhere to start digging out their tired old chiches and saying things like ‘shimmering’, ‘Southend’, ‘kaleidoscopic’, and ‘neo-psychedelic’ (*yuck*) again. Anyway, the band have released the first single, ‘Machine’, from their as yet untitled fifth album, that will follow on from their superb 2014 effort, ‘Luminous’. The track proves, thank heavens, that they’ve still got it.

The opening minute is absolutely exhilarating, a snarling, ambient-industrial piece that makes the hairs on your arms stand up. The rest of the track melds well with the ambient part, but I can’t help wanting them to have used more of the harsh, cracked beats and fractured, insular, almost nervous percussion in more of the song. This is but a minor gripe, and Machine is great. It’s an electro stomper that’s just cool. There’s no two ways about it. The band have recently been on tour with fellow electronic trailblazers, Depeche Mode, and you can definitely hear a bit of the 80s legends coming into the track. Like most Horrors tracks, Machine has a unique and interesting structure, and this serves to accentuate the squealing guitars, gut-frazzling bass and Badwan’s slightly weary yet defiant vocals. 

The band pride themselves on their unique sound, so I won’t try and say what ‘Machine’ sounds like, but the track bears hallmarks of Throbbing Gristle, Goldfrapp, and maybe even Tubeway Army. The track gives me great hope for the album, but I can’t help getting annoyed at how long they take with releases. I’ve always believed that if you’re working on ten to fifteen songs for two years or so, things are going to stagnate. I’m not suggesting The Horrors release something every year, especially considering their wonderful side-projects like Cat’s Eyes and synth wizard Tom Furse’s solo stuff, but seriously guys- next time just get a move on yeah? I’m being slightly facetious of course, but the point still stands. Regardless, ‘Machine’ is a banger and you should listen to it. One of the best, genuinely inventive groups of the 21st century are back and time will tell whether they’re better than ever, but if ‘Machine’ is anything to go by, it’s looking like it.

(Words: Will Ainsley)