Edging further away from their shoegazinggoth-rock roots with each new release, The Horrors resolutely target the alt.pop mainstream on their fifth album.
Produced by Paul Epworth, the multiple Grammy-winner who has worked with Adele, Muse, U2, Coldplay and dozens more, V combines expansive arena-rock sonics with a heavy dose of lush electronics. Indeed, the stern synths and metal-bashing percussion of Hologram sound like vintage Tubeway Army, while the robo-riffing thunder of Machine falls between Suede and the Sisters Of Mercy.
Faris Badwan’s polished croon lends a classy air to proceedings, though some of these studio-sculpted anthems clearly owe more to production wizardry and guitar-pedal pyrotechnics than solid songwriting.
Weighed Down is an overlong exercise in the kind of post-punk pastiche The Horrors were doing a decade ago, while the anodyne goth-lite plodder It’s A Good Life could be Tears For Fears wearing too much guyliner. Big ambitions are admirable, but not the calculated blandness sometimes required to achieve them.