The Horrors - V album review

Southend post-punk revivalists shoot for the big league

Cover art for The Horrors - V album

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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.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.