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.