The Horrors CD reviewed by John Graham

Music Reviews
The Horrors CD reviewed by John Graham
Aug 20, 2007, 06:53

The Horrors - Strange House

THE HORRORS Strange House CD

So these hurricane-coiffed Brits totally steal every piece of their musical cake from the Birthday Party. So what? Even if their thievery is sometimes blatant enough to verge on bold insult—like the way “Horror's Theme” cops the clip-clopping carny beat and keyboards of “Mr. Clarinet”—if you're gonna bite someone's style, you may as well bite the neck of the best. (Cue “Release the Bats” here.) The Horrors also add quavery funhouse organs that metamorphose even the album's gothiest, bass-fueled rockers into giddy rides through a garagey surf-punk tunnel of love. You'd never guess the blood-soaked Phantom Limbs and the stylish Hives would share common ground, but beautiful black-eyed improbability, thy name is Horrors. In so many ways, Strange House is far better than it deserves to be. It summons obvious ancestors, dolls them up in pointy shoes and piles of fancyboy hair, and then—all odds against them—cranks them around like reanimated meat puppets who nevertheless thrill and amaze. What The Horrors aren't is original; what they are is, with a few reservations, terrifically exciting. The bass thumps and thunders underneath dripping-wet electric keys, the drums drive towards overload, and the vocals howl with such conviction that—even in the most corny of spookshow moments—you'd almost buy that, yes, the guy on the mic is actually a certifiable loony who should be ambulanced to Bedlam immediately. So if you've worn out your vinyl copy of Junkyard and the Bauhaus reunion isn't convincing you, The Horrors'll do. Yes, sir, they'll do nicely indeed. [Stolen Transmission]

-J Graham

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