Not much shocks us here at NME Towers. We’re all cool and cynical, you know? Slap us in the face with an echidna, we won’t even flinch. So the moment this album first hit our stereo like a blizzard in the summer, the dropped jaws and cries of “Shut up, this is NOT The Horrors… it can’t be!” were something to behold.
Here’s our first impressions of this year’s biggest surprise (due for release in May)…
Beginning with a low, ambient, throb that’ll make you check you haven’t stuck ‘Music For Airports’ on by accident, after a minute of gentle pulsing it kicks in with an impossibly sultry Mary Chain bassline, big Cult drums and Faris’ declamatory, goth vocal booming “walk on into the night” before a ‘Killing Moon’-ish guitar solo (really) shoots for the heavens. We are definitely not in Shoreditch anymore, Toto.
Ominous, doom-laden bass and clattering drums are swept up by a banshee wail of synth and swoony MBV-style guitars. Gothgaze? Shoekraut? Who knows, but it’s amazing.
Who Can Say
Geoff Barrow’s cavernous production is amazing, Faris’ clean, shriek-free vocal cutting through rumbling, droney bass over a steadily driving beat as a high, sweet synth line like the ghost of lost love coos miles above, with the only trace of the band they used to be in a tambourine-kissed Shangri-Las spoken word mid-section.
Do You Remember
This one is again more shoegazey, with a gothy groove like very early Stone Roses, or Echo And The Bunnymen at their slinkiest. The romanticism of the lyrics is another surprise, Faris earnestly crying “I will cross the ocean, I will be with you soon”.
New Ice Age
Probably the scariest of all the tracks, this dark psychedelic dirge recalls Bauhaus via the rabid aggression of Killing Joke, ending in a wash of funereal organ.
With a throbbing bassline oddly reminiscent of U2’s ‘With Or Without You’, this is romantic and shoegazey, with screes of MBV/Sonic Youth guitar textures, as sweet as they are scouring.
I Only Think Of You
With that BOOM-boom-boom-chick ‘Be My Baby’ beat so beloved of shoegazers the world over, this is a doomy ballad from the edge of obsession, Faris booming “you know if I lose you I’ll go mad” like a young Ian McCulloch.
I Can’t Control Myself
An unstable psychobillyish cousin of Spiritualized’s ‘Come Together’, as sexy as it is psychotic.
The most upbeat and traditional of the tracks, this has something of Interpol-via-Asobi Seksu about it, but much, much cleverer than that.
Sea Within A Sea
An eight-minute Spacemen 3-meets-Neu! odyssey of ominous motorik rhythms, Faris’ mournful incantations and an expanding starfield of synths.