Album Review: The Horrors – Luminous

By on Tuesday, 29th April 2014 at 12:00 pm

When NME were gushing all over these boys The Horrors in 2007, telling us they were the second coming of the Smiths but with really gash, bouffant haircuts, I was about as opposed to them as, say, a Liverpool fan to the sight of Chelsea’s Thomas Kalas heading another cross away. But when they returned 2 years later the fanfare was still there, but with the tunes to back it. ‘Primary Colours’ and ‘Skying’ were triumphs of a band still finding their feet – still honing their sound, but still a group walking on the right path.

‘Luminous’ isn’t their masterpiece yet, but they’re certainly building to some kind of dayglo spectacle. That’s not to say ‘Luminous’ isn’t a thoroughly enjoyable listen from start to finish – it most certainly is. From the twinkling opener ‘Chasing Shadows’ to the roaring ‘Sleepwalk’, we’re treated to a soaring journey through Faris Badwan and co.’s psyche.

The glowing synths on ‘Sleepwalk’ and ‘So Now You Know’ (reviewed by Ben here) are spellbinding at times, whilst the ebbing and flowing intro to ‘Chasing Shadows’ before it morphs into a chugging indie rock beast brings you perfectly into the mood for the record. It’s almost a full 4 minutes before we get the pleasure of Badwan’s gently sung lyrics. The band’s ‘90s inspiration cuts straight through ‘Luminous’, and Joshua Hayward makes the most of this by utilising as many Marr-esque riffs as you can squeeze into a 10-song album. In fact, on ‘First Day Of Spring’, it’s difficult to distinguish whether the chords aren’t just lifted from ‘How Soon Is Now?’

The Horrors are at their shimmering best on ‘So Now You Know’, the jutting bobbling synths over scoring the number as Hayward’s chords ring out. The hook is infectious to the point I’ve found myself humming it like an insane person everywhere I go. In contrast, ‘In And Out Of Sight’ is probably the weakest point in the record: it sounds far too busy, and Badwan’s vocals are almost drowned out in the messy, synthy chaos.

Despite that, ‘Luminous’ is a thoroughly enjoyable listen throughout. It’s a dancier, but just as broody album, comparatively to the previous two efforts. But it’s the musings of a band on the right direction, going the same way as the Bombay Bicycle Clubs of this world.

The Horrors’ gothic take on indie rock is as it has been since 2009 – refreshingly gritty and a pleasure for the ears.


‘Luminous’, the new album from the Horrors, is out next Monday, the 5th of May, on XL Recordings.

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