The Horrors - Skying

The Horrors


Released: August 9 2011

Genre: Garage Rock / Indie

Label: XL

Rating: 4.0/5


By Alexandra Lyon

Skying has been a hot topic for many Horrors fans in recent months, as they were anxious to find out what new material the band would be playing at upcoming festivals such as Reading and Leeds.

The album, in terms of expectation, certainly does not disappoint. The first track on the album, Changing the Rain, introduces itself boldly with the kooky idea of using primitive sounds such as bongos and maracas before swiftly making the flux back to a crisp drum beat, moody bass-line and an unparalleled vocal from lead singer Faris Badwan. A light use of distortion and synth forge the track into something reminiscent of the early work of Sonic Youth, and also some of the synth/guitar combinations that are prevalent in most Keane songs.

Other tracks worthy of note are Endless Blue, which contains a long instrumental, featuring the bass guitar playing a four-note riff, a sedate beat on the hi-hat, some distorted piano and after about a minute, a muted choral overtone by male voices. Half way through the track, rock is restored and an angry electric guitar part begins, with Badwan’s vocal. The lyrics are eccentric, typical of the band and remaining true to their recently prominent theme of nature. The track is interesting, fresh and seemingly effortless.

The instrumental element of Wild Eyed is distinctly reminiscent of the sound of the Strokes, yet the vocal is most definitely more muted and haunting, almost echoing Death Cab for a Cutie. An inspiring mix – so many elements, such as the rock beat of the drums, the computer generated sound effects, the ostinato of the simple bass guitar, have been done so many times by other groups. And yet, this song and many of their others sound completely new. Few bands would choose to put a trumpet over a bass guitar, but the Horrors know how to make it work.

Another track to stand out is Monica Gems. Its obscure title gives light to how it may sound, and you’d be right in thinking it’s a curveball in an album that has received a colossal amount of hype from Horrors fans. The track is strange and beautiful, but not because it’s calming or serene, just incredibly well thought out, and a testament to everything that the Horrors promote – growling rock’n’roll mixed with a pop vibe, as infectious as it is musically skilful.

Skying, with its quirky rhythms and unique use of random percussion probably won’t appeal to many Horrors fans that were expecting the roaring bass and raw grunge expression of the band clad in black skinnies… but to the fans that are as dynamic as the four men in the group, this album will be a welcome addition to what is already an impressive library of grimy pop rock that would make the perfect soundtrack to any summer.