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.

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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

Label:

Wolf Tone/Caroline International

Stars:

4

Verdict:

Scarily great despite the obvious reference points

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