With V The Horrors have conjured up a moody, psychedelic, surprisingly groovy record that's decorated with just enough weird to retain the uneasy vibe the band's always revelled in.
To keep the energy up there are a few new-wave style tracks, but for the most part, the band explore subtler territory, exploring the limits of the mid-tempo murky atmosphere they've concocted or riding out a stoned shoe-gaze groove.
V is sonically inventive, gorgeously produced and a total success in blending style and substance. You can almost make the claim that every song's a highlight.
The head-nodding Madchester groove of Press Enter to Exit, with its vocals and monstrous funk-slab of a bass line recalling the Stone Roses, the squelchy synths and detached vocals of Hologram recall Gary Numan's outfit Tubeway Army, Tears for Fears could have penned the stadium-swaying 80s pop of World Below, while the majestic slum of Weighed Down and swirlingly delicate ballad It's a Good Life wouldn't be out of place on Suede's masterpiece Dog Man Star.
Absolutely brilliant references for The Horrors' absolutely brilliant new songs. But that's the rub, no matter how good things get - and they get very good, excellent even at louder volumes - the touchpoints are always within easy reach. But when an album's this great, this self-assured and well executed, it really doesn't matter.
Besides, The Horrors have imprinted the songs with more than enough of their own spidery signature to claim ownership. Whether through industrial-style clattering drum beats, screaming guitar blasts, swelling synth pads or atmospheric noises, all their reference points are updated or mixed up and dragged into the present.
V is a scarily good album that proves the old saying, "talent borrows, genius steals".
The Horrors - V
Wolf Tone/Caroline International
Scarily great despite the obvious reference points
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