Saturday, 6 June 2009

The Horrors @ Brighton Concorde

The Horrors take to the stage at Brighton Concorde to the sound of excited screaming girls. Within seconds those screams are strangled by a barrage of dense keyboard sounds and a howling wall of guitar. This sound proclaims the bands resurrection, stepping out of the grave marked ‘over hyped garage goth punks’ into a dark world where their ghoulish sound twists, turns and shouts to create something more expansive.

Like many bands that inspire devoted fan loyalty, The Horrors look like a gang. It’s something that the audience can buy into, and it can be witnessed throughout the room. Big hair, jackets and black clothes are the order of the day. In the same way that Robert Smith of The Cure inspired many an awkward soul to creep out of the bedroom in a riot of hairspray and smudged lipstick, so The Horrors are forging a similar relationship with their fans.

Concentrating on material from the Breaking More Waves approved second album Primary Colours, the songs have muscle and weight formed through a sound that is often hypnotic, primitive and sometimes darkly sexual, rather like Frankenstein’s monster humping against a gravestone. Battered organs, wrathful guitars and driving fuzzy bass compete for space whilst beneath the strobes singer Farris outstretches his arms to the crowd like the return of the messiah. His vocals are virtually unintelligible, all muffled and echoing, but this doesn’t seem to matter. It’s almost as if his rasping voice is just another instrument to create the bands menacing sound. Who Can Say is a typical example, sounding like a deserted buzz saw seaside funfair ride, angry at being left alone.

After forty minutes the band close their set with the psychedelic drone of Sea Within A Sea, where Farris chants a mournful mantra of following your own path alone before a pulsating delirious electronic loop kicks in. The band should finish there, no encore required, but return to kick up the spittle and bile of the first album with some selected tracks such as Sheena Is A Parasite. In comparison to the new songs these tracks seem to lack soul and depth; a teen punk stomp through a vintage record collection that’s fun whilst it lasts but is quickly forgotten. We may have thought that this was to be the case with this band as well, but it seems that with the progression they have made they may stick in our memories longer than we thought.



Can't believe all this talk about The Horrors and their new album. It was so cool to hate them a few years back. I feel confused - I'm not sure how to behave anymore!

Gutted to find out that you were at the Neon Gold after party and that we didn't get a chance to meet. Would have been great to say hello. Did you get a chance to meet Marina (& The Diamonds) as she was floating around? I see you've written about her...

Next time you're heading over to Brighton, let us know and we will come and say hello...

All the best,

Robin said...

How to behave Re: The Horrors ? Listen and then make your own mind up. Simple.

Unfortunately the Breaking More Waves crew were only at the Neon Gold party for Yes Giantess and then we had to leave immediately after, as one of our party had been doing a little too much alcoholic rock n roll excess all day....

However managed to have a chat with Marina @ the Hoxton gig a couple of days later.

We're not going to be gigging in Brighton for a while now I suspect, as we concentrate on summer festivals, but come September I'm sure we will be there lots !