Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Best Albums Of 2009 #1

The Horrors-Primary Colours

When The Horrors debuted in 2006, they hit the airwaves amid a frenzy of UK-media hype. They were all black outfits and frizzy hair and Cramps-meets-Bauhaus spaz-outs. They were the goth band for the punk kids, wherever those kids may be. It was pretty heady stuff if you were into that sort of thing, but not a lot of people were. NME made Arctic Monkeys stars. The Horrors were swiftly brushed aside as also-rans.

Three years later, The Horrors returned with a new album and a (slightly) new sound. At first, Primary Colours sounds like an album made by a completely different band. Further listens unwinds the album a bit, however. This is definitely the same dark band; they’ve just wrapped themselves in some gauzy new threads and sounds.

Primary Colours starts with a swirl of bleak electronica that reminisces David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy. 45 minutes later, the album ends with a full-band flurry that album producer Geoff Barrow borrowed from his band Portishead’s “The Rip.” In between, the touchstones are varied. Joy Division… The Cure… The Jesus And Mary Chain… My Bloody Valentine… Primary Colours is best described as “Gothic Shoegaze,” but even that moniker doesn’t do the album justice. The album is 2009 in a nutshell: it’s loud, nonsensical, and a little on the bleak side.

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