Although The Horrors have been around since 2005, I first took notice of this English group in 2011 when their third studio album Skying was released. A chance buy of the album and a long road trip ahead of me, Skying turned out to be the perfect soundtrack for an early morning drive through a prairie blanketed with sunshine and fog. Long a fan of retro synth sounds; the careful layering and languid voice of lead singer Faris Badwin and immersive sound immediately captured my interest. I couldn’t wait for a followup album.
The band, which also includes Tom Furse on synthesizers and bass, Joshua Third on guitar and bass, Coffin Joe on drums, percussion and backing vocals and Rhys Webb on bass, organ and backing vocals is back with Luminous, a graceful evolution to Skying. While the band’s origins are somewhat gothic punk glam, The Horrors as they exist today aren’t terrifically dark. The music is quite ethereal and the lyrics equally hopeful and resigned. The synth work acts as a centerpiece, but The Horrors sound is fairly straight-ahead rock with lots of minor chords changes.
The second and third tracks, First Day Of Spring and So Now You Know are the most reminiscent of Skying. The fourth track, In And Out Of Sight has a trippy psychedelic synth backdrop. My favorite track is I See You, which makes use of arpeggitator sounds reminiscent of disco powerhouse Donna Summer in her hit I Feel Love. I could see fans of Echo & The Bunnymen appreciating The Horrors as well. I love that we’re hearing a reinvention of these sounds that were somewhat overshadowed by the grunge movement in the 90s.
Speaking of the 90s, if you enjoy The Horrors, you may want to dig back into the music vault and explore the English band Mansun. I recommend Wide Open Space from Mansun’s album Attack of the Grey Lantern.
Luminous is an album that begs to be experienced as a whole. The overall effect is orchestrated, which definitely sets them apart in a sea of traditional bands. They are currently touring in Europe and will hopefully swing through the states later this year. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for the latest tour dates.
Thanks for reading/listening!