The five lads in The Horrors are back with a new album and a sound that’s all grown-up. “It’s a natural progression really,” says frontman Faris Badwan, sitting in the East Village rock bar Black and White on a rainy day off from the band’s tour with electro duo The Kills. “Happy accidents kind of make music good. And we’re interested in experimenting with sound, and what you can do with instruments, and how you can push them and use them in slightly unconventional ways.” He stops and clarifies, “I don’t mean that to sound pretentious or anything. We just wanted to push things, and really live with the record, and let the songs evolve organically.”
The Horror’s new album Primary Colours (note the British spelling), slickly produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, finds the guys in a much more mature place than we remember them as angsty teens on their debut album, Strange House. “Our first album was the sound of kids being in a band for the first time and it was just a barrage,” admits Badwan. “It’s just us being really young and it’s fun, and it serves its purpose, but it was really just a stepping stone. With Primary Colours, we just wanted to make something that was really evocative and made you feel a different range of emotions.”
The album has already drawn a slew of comparisons to many mainstays, in many different genres: the Hypntoics (Spiritualized, Spaceman 3), the Fuzzy Guitar Heroes (Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth), the New Wave-cum-New Romantics (Echo & the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs), along with American ‘60s girl groups like the Shangri-Las.
Badwan says he identifies most with Spaceman 3, who come from the same town as him, near Rugby, England and share the same influences. “I know where they’re coming from, they’re real music fans,” he says, explaining he’s not offended by the constant comparisons to predecessors, being that his band tries to build on their influences, versus rehashing what’s been done. “I think that’s how music should be. You should be really into other bands, and passionate what you listen to, and be a kid when it comes to music.”
The video for the Horrors’ first single “Sea Within A Sea” was directed by Douglas Hart, the founding bassist of the Jesus and Mary Chain, who caught their eye when he did the visuals for My Bloody Valentine’s live shows. The Horrors enlisted him to do the visuals for their UK tour dates as well.
But first they continue their American tour dates opening for the Kills this month. And in their downtime in the States, they’ve been having lots of shopping in thrift stores, throwing Hawaiian shirt parties and holding “face-pulling competitions.” “That entails making your face as droopy as possible. And then daring each other to do it on stage,” says Badwan, who says he loved Carrboro, North Carolina so much he wouldn’t mind moving there. Check out the Horrors remaining U.S. tour dates below.
Appearing with The Kills
Mon 05/11/09 Minneapolis, MN
Fri 05/15/09 Seattle, WA
Sat 05/16/09 Vancouver, BC
Sun 05/17/09 Portland, OR
Tue 05/19/09 San Francisco, CA
Thu 05/21/09 Pomona, CA
Fri 05/22/09 Los Angeles, CA
Music Box @ Fonda
(Photo: Tom Beard)