Over the past five or six years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the London, UK-based indie rock quintet and JOVM mainstays The Horrors. And as you may recall, the British blogosphere darlings comprised of of Faris Badwan (vocals), Joshua Hayward (guitar), Tom Cowan (aka Tom Furse) (keys and synths), Rhys Webb (bass) and Joe Spurgeon (drums, percussion), can trace their origins back to the early 00s, and to a shared interest in obscure vinyl collecting, DJ’ing, and a mutual love of 60s garage rock, and 70s and 80s New Wave and post-punk — in particular, The Birthday Party and Bauhaus. In fact, as the story goes, the band’s founding trio met during repeated trips back and forth between their hometown from their hometown Southend-on-Sea and London.
By 2005, the British indie rock band’s founding trio recruited Haywood and Spurgeon to complete the band’s lineup and began rehearsing, and reportedly their first rehearsal together featured two covers — The Sonics’ “The Witch” and Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack the Ripper,” interpreted in the tradition of previous garage rock covers such as those by The Fuzztones, The Gruesomes and others. Unsurprisingly, their 2007 debut, Strange House featured their garage rock take on “Jack the Ripper” as its opening track; however, it was the album’s first two official singles “Sheena Is a Parasite” and “Death at the Chapel” that caught the attention of music journalists, music critics and fans. And since then, each of the band’s albums — their aforementioned 2007 debut, 2009’s Primary Colours, 2011’s Skying and 2014’s Luminous — have garnered both critical praise and commercial success, as they have all charted within the UK Top 40. Along with that, Skying and Luminous received international attention, including attention from this site.
V, The Horrors’ aptly titled fifth studio album was released last week through Wolftone Records/Caroline Records and while being the band’s first batch of material in three years, the Paul Epworth-produced album finds the band experimenting and expanding with the sound that’s won them national and international attention over the past two albums; in fact, the album’s first official single “Machine” seems to have the British indie rockers incorporating elements of the Manchester sound — in particular, Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, the abrasive, industrial electronica of Nine Inch Nails and Earthling-era David Bowie while retaining the band’s rousing and anthemic hooks; but by far, the song may be among the most swaggering and assertive songs of their growing catalog.
“Something to Remember Me By,” V’s second and is a propulsive, dance floor-friendly track that features a sinuous bass line paired with shimmering and cascading layers of synths, four-on-the floor drumming and a soaring hook — and to my ears, the track seems to have the band drawing influence from late period New Order — i.e., Get Ready and Music Complete — with an underlying, swooning Romanticism, making it arguably their most instantly memorable song they’ve released to date.
Directed by Max Weiland, the recently released video for V’s second single is a cinematic and weird video that directly comments society’s obsession with celebrity and the music industry’s attempt to take advantage of that, as Weiland explains in press notes. In the video, a strange and menacing mega-conglomerate uses the bandmembers’ desire for fame to harder their blood, sweat, tears, semen and more to make ridiculous consumer products for mass consumption — with the most hilarious one being The Horrors brand dildo.