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Horrors - Strange House

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 25 / 3 / 2007

Horrors - Strange House
Label: Loog/Polydor
Format: CD


Stunning garage/punk rock with attitude on debut album from young Southend-based group, the Horrors

The Horrors hail from Southend, and were formed as a reaction to the soul boy crowd that is often associated with that Essex seaside town. They are a 5 piece that look like the Cure in approximately 1984. All aged around 19 or 20, they make music that has made my blood boil and has got me excited about music for the first time since the Raveonettes appeared on the scene four years ago. With names like Coffin Joe, Faris and Spider the Webb, you just know that this is going to be good. ‘Strange House’ kicks off with its only cover, Screaming Lord Sutch's ‘Jack The Ripper’. It starts off with radio interference, before a dirge like wall of feedback worthy of the mighty Jesus and Mary Chain assaults the ears, while a throbbing bass grinds away, against a growl of a vocal by front man, Faris, who sounds like Nick Cave in the Birthday Party as he tells the story of London's first serial killer. It is played and dragged out slowly, until it revs up to ten times the speed that it started out with a super fast pogoing beat. At my first Horrors live show at Virgin Megastore it made me realise what seeing the Damned back in ‘77 must have been like. ‘Count in Fives’, the band’s third single, appeared on two 7 inches, and is heavy with both a 60’s organ and mad psychedelic drums. It is stomping garage rock at its very best. Faris has all the attitude on it of a young John Lydon. ‘Draw Japan’ is thrashy and fast with a punk attitude, and recollects the Fuzztones. ‘Gloves’, the fourth single, is one of the best songs of the year and is firmly embedded in my brain, while ‘Excellent Choice’ is a spoken word tale, with a 60’s twang groove, upon which the Fall’s Mark E.Smith shouts in the background. The backing music has an element of the early 60’s, and sounds something like the Shadows would if they had ever played garage rock at its most experimental. ‘Little Victories’ is another number to pogo too, has a heavy organ, and brings big happy memories of ‘Anarchy in the UK’. ‘She is the New Thing’ starts off sounding like an experimental number with big chunks of guitar, before getting groovier and becoming more commercial. It features a spoken word narrative, and has a guitar solo in the middle that is completely mid 60’s and is played beautifully in a cool retro way. ‘Sheena is a Parasite’ was the first heard song I heard by the band, and sounds loud and Gothic. The accompanying video sees them moving into horror film territory. ‘Thunderclaps’ recollects the B52s in an especially lovely way, and has a hummed chorus with great ‘Rock Lobster’ guitars, ‘Gil Sleeping’ starts off sounding like an experimental the Doors, but adds jazz, bass, and mad radiophonic touches to it, the latter of which the band are keen to experiment with. “A Train Roars’ carries this on, sounding initially like something which has just escaped from John Hurt's stomach in ‘Alien’, before getting into hardcore Damned territory. It has big bad Gothic attitude written all over it. This is followed by three minutes of silence, music perhaps listenable to by dogs, before ending with a bonus UK only extra track, which is their first 7 inch ‘Death at the Chapel’. It is an updated garage stomp, which stinks of tight leather, bad attitude and big breasted lipstick chicks out for fun. Embrace this band now , kids ! You won’t regret it.

Track Listing:-
1 Jack The Ripper
2 Count In Fives
3 Draw Japan
4 Gloves
5 Excellent Choice
6 Little Victories
7 She Is The New Thing
8 Sheena Is A Parasite
9 Thunderclaps
10 Gil Sleeping
11 A Train Roars
12 Death At The Chapel (Album Version)

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