I’m never one to shy away from how much I love a band, and The Horrors are yet another example of this. Having been a fan since the early days of Strange House, Skying was going to go one of two ways for me: I could fully appreciate the brilliance of their development not only from Strange House to Primary Colours to Skying, or I could hate it. Thankfully, and almost expectedly, I loved it.
Furthering the psychedelic edge that we experienced on Primary Colours, opener Changing The Rain introduces not only The Horrors new found love of percussion, but its distortion overloaded sound fits as the perfect opening to this album. You Said throws in with a synth line taken straight from a 1980s track, yet it somehow feels just right sat alongside Faris Badwan’s almost mumbles. It’s slower pace does make it a bit laborious to listen to, yet when the pace begins to pick up it does make the wait worthwhile, with its display of gloriously melodic synths a high point on this album.
I Can See Through You furthers this synth melodic edge (I do hate the word synth, or even the thought of it) and the obvious influences completely passed me by until blatantly pointed out. The 80s undertones that run throughout the album somehow suit this new grown-up Horrors (am I allowed to make such claims), it fully leaves behind the comic Goth approach of yesteryear, and steps the band into the spotlight they’ve deserved for years, lets not forget that terrible Mercury’s loss for Primary Colours, in my opinion they were robbed.
Endless Blue cascades just as you’d expect with the faster elements sounding like a slightly less aggravated punk band, with the band’s new found acceptance of blatant percussion, flattering the ethereal sweeping guitars and keyboards throughout the song. Dive In the the perfect partner to follow Endless Blue, careering and melodically similarly to the former, the darker undertones on the bass and guitar, with its repeating refrain of ‘Away, away, away you go, Before they push you under, Away, away, away you go, Before they pull you in’ adds a sickeningly haunting touch to the track.
Of course there’s the previously heard introduction to the album, or what I like to call The Horrors do Simple Minds. The track by be simple compared to their previous output, and what it sings alongside, but it’s the simple repeating chorus and keyboard sequence that make it so effortlessly brilliant. Wild Eyed takes a similarly laissez-faire approach, lackadaisically rolling along, capturing the essence of Primary Colours (the fact that I decided the album sounded like a disused fairground).
The 8 minute long odyssey Moving Further Away is the synth laden Sea Within A Sea on this album, flowing gently along, albeit sounding like much of the rest of the album combined into one song, harnessing both the heavier and more rhythmical elements of the entire album. And 8 minutes of it is too long for me not to get distracted, try as I bloody well do, especially with generous instrumental breaks. Monica Gems is a god send after this, throwing itself straight in with staccato guitar burst melting into the generic flow of the album, considerably improved by this variation between pace and sound. Slipping gracefully into final track Ocean’s Burning, this does nothing but confirm what as pretty much expected all along: Skying (and The Horrors) are one of the best things to happen to the British music scene lately. Now we might be clouded by lad rock acts like Beady Eye, Viva Brother, and to a certain extent The Vaccines, but how many of these acts are we going to look at for a lesson in great British albums. For its ingenious sounds and experimentalism alone, someone should just give The Horror the title of album of the year, as I can’t think of anyone who could better this.