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THE HORRORS / STRANGE HOUSE

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It’s March 2017, and that may mean a few things. It means that this year is disappearing way too fast. It certainly means we’re heading into spring, which is great news for us here in the UK. It also means that it’s a whole ten years this week since garage indie legends; The Horrors released their iconic debut studio album ‘Strange House’.

Now if you, like me, were heavily into the indie music scene of 2007 and grew up around that scene, then you’ll know The Horrors, and probably remember the first time you came across them, so they need no real introduction here. The Horrors arrived with an awe inspiring gimmick and look and were certainly a band to notice, before we even get into the music side of things. With their Goth-punk style and unique branding, The Horrors stood way out from the crowd and I clearly remember discovering this band and being completely put off by the idea that the all black uniforms, obscure haircuts and overt style was probably only to draw attention away from their limited musical ability. I was wrong, retrospectively, but I’m one of those that were put off by it all. Undeniably, their debut record is one hell of a start though and I only have myself to blame for my dismissive attitude. As a follow up to their 2006 EP, ‘Strange House’ introduced many to their dark yet glamorous styling and also huge tracks like ‘Count in Fives’ and ‘Gloves’ that have always stood the test of time as indie dance floor classics, especially if looking for that harder, edgier side to indie and some chaotic synths to go with it. The snarling vocals of lead singer Faris Badwan remind me of the post punk bands of the early eighties plus a little bit of John Cooper-Clarke. They produced punk at its finest and did it as well as any of the post punk groups from the early 80’s and illustrate this point in ‘Sheena Is a Parasite’ and ‘Jack The Ripper’. As I mentioned before, I can only retrospectively regret not jumping on board the ship at the time, especially as a punk sound like this is exactly the sort of thing I want to hear released nowadays. Also a unique look and ideology would be a welcome break from the clones and label hunters of todays music market, where everyone wants to look and sound the same because that gives them a much wider chance of featuring on as many other artists records as possible. The Horrors, ten years after their first album release, would be nothing short of an asset to today’s mediocre and mundane commercial music scene.

The really interesting thing about ‘Strange House’ and The Horrors in general is how they appeared to evolve and change their sound to a much more down tempo, psych based style in the years that followed, mainly featured within their incredible third studio album ‘Skying’ from 2011. They appeared to entirely shun they’re previous work and reinvented themselves as something they’d matured into progressively. I have it on account that during a whole 2011 set, they’d not even acknowledge their earlier material and definitely not the unique look as they were now clad in denim and much more conventional attire. As we’ve mentioned many a time before, that’s the beauty of recorded music, they’ll be any version we want them to be for the rest of time, and whenever I feel like I haven’t got enough 2007 Goth-punk in my life, I’ll throw this album on again.

Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)

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