The Horrors: Skying
The Horrors have one of the more unlikely stories in recent music history. They began as a spooky, 60’s-influenced, garage-punk band. They sounded if you combined the Addams Family and the Partridge Family. They recorded an amusing little album but weren’t taken seriously and got dropped from their label. Then they came back as more of a goth-post-punk band, trading their Farfisa organs for synthesizers and keeping their dark lyrics but making them less jokey. The music world took notice and their second album was almost universally praised. But if Strange House was a black and sepia spookfest and Primary Colours was a grayscale maelstrom, then Skying is brought to you in stunning technicolor.
The synths take center stage on this album. Here, The Horrors explore a much larger range of keyboard sounds than they ever have before. Combine that with Joshua Third’s usual hornet’s nest of guitar noise and some of the best bass playing they’ve had on record to date and you’ve got an eerily beautiful, textured album. Every song is a multi-layered kaleidoscope for the ears. This is what they used to call a “headphone album.” Oddly enough, you can also dance to at least half of it. The closest musical relative would be The Cure. Both bands can make music that’s gloomy yet strangely funky in some way without going into New Order disco territory.
Some of the songs are a bit longer then they should be. The best example is “Oceans Burning,” which is a jaw-dropping ballad until they tack on an awkward upbeat ending. “Moving Further Away” is the album’s lengthy centerpiece and is a standout, but “Endless Blue” is a perfect epic. It’s surely a contender for best song The Horrors have ever written. With this song and this album, they’ve proven that they’re no novelty act.