An unsettlingly melodic triumph
Wander into any London basement playing tunes worth getting excited about in the last five years, and chances are you’d have tripped over a Horror. Much like spiritual forefathers [a]Primal Scream[/a], [a]The Horrors[/a]’ enthusiasm for new influences bleeds into all they do, making for records that are triumphs of spirit over ability. Trust me: as a whole, or maybe from one of them, their [b]‘Screamadelica’[/b] is coming.
This isn’t it, but it’s a mightily seductive step along the way. The product of [b]Faris Badwan[/b] teaming up with Canadian soprano [b]Rachel Zeffira[/b] to make mid-’60s girl group-inspired songs, the twist comes when their enthusiasm for such things is teamed with his [a]The Horrors[/a]’ fetish for discordant Joe Meek noise. [b]‘Not A Friend’[/b], in particular, is straight out of Joe’s Holloway Road studio-cum-science lab. There are brilliant songs for certain – [b]‘Best Person I Know’[/b], [b]‘I Knew It Was Over’[/b] – but the charm is in the delicacy.
So many elements fall in and out of the mix: the pianos on [b]‘I’m Not Stupid’[/b] are backed with a distant note of tremolo guitar and strings in the foreground; [b]‘Sooner Or Later’[/b] is full of Spacemen 3 feedback; [b]‘The Lull’[/b] is DIY Bacharach/David; [b]‘Over You’[/b] contains a rubbery beat group bassline, and some strange instrument that only reveals itself after multiple listens – when there are flaws in the songwriting your attention is elsewhere.
Faris deserves for this to become more than just a curio in [a]The Horrors[/a]’ catalogue: it’s warm, out-there pop that was worth all the care and attention that has been invested in it.