The Horrors

While the rest of hipsterdom in their native London was going flashy neon, the Horrors did what any endearingly bratty, contrary children would do. They looked inside themselves and saw their hearts were black. Well, not really, but the quartet kicked aside the dance-rock trend in favor of raw, throat-ripping garage rock, enshrouded in a cloak of cartoony menace.

Barely out of their teens, the big-haired, made-up, drainpipe-pantsed bandmates boast an archivist’s catalogue of influences. Rather than rely on a watered-down version of all of those “the” bands from a few years back, the Horrors turn to the sounds of obscure Sixties groups like the Seeds. Add a tiny dash of later horror punk (insert requisite reference to the Cramps here), mod organ stabs, and near-chanted vocals in a raspy accent that could almost peel paint from the walls. Never has creeping dread seemed so fun as on the anthemic gasp of the tune “Count in Fives.”

There’s almost nothing bad to say here; there’s just no other band on the scene playing a similar style of music so well while looking so damn good. Strange House is a breakout international introduction that will be difficult for such a young band to top. But it’s a ray of hope for those who were waiting for the soul to return to rock and roll — even if that soul is, this time, undead.


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