The Horrors – Skying (XL)
The Horrors. Another band that’s passed me by.
Before we start this review, I think it’d be worth our while to talk about a certain form of prevalent shorthand. If rock critics reference any of the following bands – Echo & The Bunnymen, The Chameleons, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Simple Minds (doesn’t matter which era), Psychedelic Furs, Can – then what they really mean is THIS BAND SOUND LIKE U2 BUT WE’D RATHER NOT SAY SO BECAUSE THAT WOULD PUT US ON THE SAME LEVEL AS YOU, OUR READER. So, when music writers talk about ‘Changing The Rain’ (the opening track on the third Horrors album) sounding a little ‘baggy’ (a description for a genre that was invented as a joke at Melody Maker back in the early Nineties … same way ‘grunge’ was), a bit like The Stone Roses or psychedelic or vaguely Britpop indie-dance, what they really mean is THIS BAND SOUND LIKE U2. Only a little more bland.
And when critics reference dreary early Eighties synth-popsters Tears For Fears as a means of describing the overplayed, amorphous, singularly dull = dull = dull wash of sounds and ‘baggy’ beats that swamp second track ‘You Said’, what they really mean is THIS BAND SOUND LIKE U2. Only without any personality (however irritating).
Did The Horrors always sound like this, or are they yet more changelings in the style of Kings Of Leon and (ha) U2? I have no real way of knowing – and I sure as fuck am not going to go back and waste my time to listening to previous albums when the singer sounds so anonymous – but reports creeping in mention ‘goth’ and ‘art-rock’ and ‘the Sixties’ like these are terms of abuse or genres, not abstract notations. When critics refer to the third track ‘I Can See Through You’ as the ‘break-out song’, they probably know what they’re talking about, and yes the keyboard-line does sound similar to that on Pulp’s ‘O.U.’ single (thanks, The Quietus) – but what they really mean is that THIS SONG SOUNDS LIKE U2, WITH A KEYBOARD-LINE STOLEN FROM PULP.
The fourth track, ‘Endless Blue’ is Chapterhouse bad. Let’s not say any more about it.
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by Everett True
My name is Everett True. I am a music critic. This is what I do. I criticise music. The clue is in my job description – music critic. I do not consider myself a journalist, as I do not research or report hard news. I do not consider myself a commentator as I believe that everyone should be a participant. I criticise people and in return I am not surprised if other people criticise me. It is part of the whole deal of being in the public arena. I am Everett True. Believe in me and I have power like a God. Quit believing in me and I no longer exist.