Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Horrors

The Horrors (EP)
Stolen Transmission

So what we, uh, don't have enough of these days is bands looking like they sound. Trust me, with the exceptions of the Cramps, Siouxsie and every black metal band ever, most bands aren't willing to make that extra jump into total identity immersion and reality creation. Not So! with the Horrors. They're the NME saviors it's okay to like! They have unfeasibly big hair! Unfeasibly tight undertaker outfits! They're going to be in an episode of the Mighty Boosh! They're not afraid to be goth! They have an organ player! I could go on. The visual imagery of the Horrors is way fucking cogent in discussing their overall aesthetics - that of cobblestoned streets in the dead of night, dank crypts, darkened velvet drawing rooms, consumptive radicals, cape-wearing dandies, Dickensian urchins, Baudelaire and Rimbaud knife fighting down dark streets, Ghoulardi broadcasting B-grade horror films from someone's basement, the Count Five wearing Dracula capes...

Okay, the Horrors are too young to be so good in that dirty, filthy garage-crypt-robbin' way. But they pull it fucking off! Half of this lightning quick 5-song EP (no song over 3:30 minutes, buddy!) sounds like the Cramps' foster children, the other half sounds like they could have been the opening band for either Bobby "Boris" Picket and the Crypt Kicker Five or maybe Screamin' Jay Hawkins in his prime. It's a blur of messy, evil cavestomp genius - Billy Childish and Jesus and Mary Chain and old 78s, dig those backing vocals and that screeching organ, dad.

"Death At The Chapel," besides having one of the coolest song titles ever, doesn't overstay its welcome in a careening two minutes worth of horror movie organs (from Spyder Webb), fuzzed out guitar vomit and Faris's screams ushering in a guitar solo and an organ solo respectively! With a crash effect at the end! "Crawdaddy Simone," ostensibly about a creepy loner, might instead be about any member of the band, down to the stylish dress and not having any friends - my favorite part about this song is the high, beat group backing vocals. Not to mention lead howler Faris Rotter's bizarrely mature vocal roar, reminiscent of Nick Cave circa Birthday Party with a lil' bit of Mark Arm. "Sheena Is A Parasite" reimagines the classic Ramones number as a spazzed-out, teethgrinding goth raveup. If Bauhaus was a Nuggets band! Release the bats! Following that is a cover of Screaming Lord Sutch's Halloween classic "Jack the Ripper," and they do the old boy proud. It's all taut, darkling mod frenzy - with wiry, one-note guitar, four on the floor rhythms, atonal organ vamps, little boy lost call-and-response vocals to Rotter's deep gurgles. A glorious mess. "Excellent Choice" somewhat breaks with the previous black planet/batcave vibe with a number that reminds me of "Jesus Built My Hotrod" or "Louie Louie." Now THIS is what a young band/Britain should sound like.

Any justice in the world and they'll ignite a youth cult like Roxy Music before them. Fashion is art is music is pose is death... I mean life.

-Matthew Moyer

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