When The Horrors’ Skying was released in 2011, I was a big fan of the band’s ability to walk the line between retro and modern. I was open to the idea of a remix album, especially since the dreamy atmosphere of Skying lends itself to being reinterpreted. However, Higher is definitely not the right way to go about a remix album.
Very few elements of the original songs remain, thus eliminating what made the record so accomplished in the first place. A few of the tracks have been made completely instrumental, and in the case of “I Can See Through You (Blanck Mass Remix),” taking a four-minute song and stretching it out over eleven minutes is just unnecessary. This isn’t even the longest remix on Higher.
There are some glimmers of hope. “Dive In (The Pressure Ridges)” is a proper remix, adding some natural sound effects and sexy beats while preserving the original vocals. Likewise, “Moving Into Blue (Seahawks Skying Suite)” is genuinely beautiful and delicate. But for every song I enjoyed, there’s another that ruins the experience. “Still Life (Connan Mockasin Remix)” is obnoxiously slow and muddled, as though someone just decided to play the song slowly and strip it of any charm. Another remix of the same song, “Still Life (Still Living Still Giving Cherrytones BMX),” uses such shrill notes that I couldn’t sit through it because of the pain it inflicted.
I won’t count it against The Horrors for trying to put out different interpretations of Skying. Having said that, Higher is definitely worth ignoring.