Ruby Lounge Manchester
Inside the Ruby Lounge this evening there’s a curious mix of grungy teens, original shoegazers and inquisitive onlookers to meet The Horrors' feedback drenched stage entrance. Three minutes of noise later, singer Faris Badwin slouches on stage: stick-insect thin but hair and celeb girlfriend tamed, he’s visibly more comfortable with his colleague’s current choice of sound collage.
Ditching Birthday Party gristle for MBV glissando, The Horrors have transformed into a sharp bunch of songwriters, finally delivering on the dangerous hype that greeted their breakthrough in the summer of 2006.
Inside the sauna-like venue, only the front rows immediately give up to Badwin’s gangly posturing. ‘Do You Remember’ is a colossal, swerve-driving tune propelled by bowl-haired axe man Joshua’s saw-like guitar and ‘Who Can Say’ shows Glasvegas how 80s indie homage is really done (minus the poncy shades and gimmicky stand-up drummer).
Their crowing glory arrives with the epic ‘Sea Within A Sea’ which entwines Krautrock chords within a dank electronic enveloper: meanwhile Badwin wins over any remaining sceptics with measured vocal moans and Nick Cave-inspired introspection. Elsewhere, ‘Gloves’ is a haunting goth dirge, ‘I Can’t Control Myself’ a repetitive, caustic journey into Spacemen 3 drones and Sonic Boom lazerock.
Tucked away in the encore, early gem ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’ cramps things up a notch: a chaotic rock sprawl while a sweat drenched Badwin spiders his way into the arms of adoring front rows. With electronic influences seeping into the bands sonic template, signs points towards an exciting, dance floor friendly future. Energised by a change in label (XL, take a bow) and a broader songwriting outlook, these five odd Southend boys appear in fine shape.
Great to have you back, you little Horrors.
Written originally for Clash Music.