If I were to point out one aspect that The Horrors seem to excel at, it would have to be reinvention. When their debut Strange House emerged onto the scene, the Gothic sound of it that reeked of Robert Smith’s aura was laughed off by many music fans at the time however these same people immediately regretted doing so once their follow up Primary Colours appeared and was universally lauded by critics and fans alike, appearing with the bands brand new sound that lead many to compare their transformation to the likes of Primal Scream. The Essex boys have placed the technicolour psychedelia sound they’ve been perfecting from previous releases onto the operating table and have meddled with it for their fourth record Luminous and you’d be wrong to say they haven’t done so with some brilliant results.
Case in point? Take the track I See You, the first single the band showcased on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, which radiates a sparkling disco sound that is dangerously close of echoing Simple Minds work. It would be a sure fire single if it weren’t for the track’s long run time but with an energetic 3 minute outro, no one’s complaining. In And Out Sight is another stand out track which features an intro Kavinsky wouldn’t mind adopting and has the pleasure of preceding Jealous Sun which features a strong bass throughout and showcases the band’s ability to shift from different tones throughout this record. Kudos to First Day Of Spring which, although may sound like a lost track from Skying, still fits in incredibly well into the album and sounds fantastic as well as emphasizing frontman Faris Badwan’s voice which has enough uniqueness to allow it to stand out.
If there’s any complaints that can be made it’s that some tracks can sound slightly similar though the same musical palette that the album draws its tracks from helps to create a nice flow which also highlights when the band are entering dark territory with it though this solely comes down to the listener’s perspective. In addition to this, Luminous gives off the vibe that the band are playing it a bit too safe. Even though there has been some slight changes to the sound, there haven’t been enough radical ones to help it feel entirely fresh.
When The Horrors aim for a sound, they more or less do well with it. Luminous, like Skying, shows that the band are capable of doing well with this psychedelic sound. The record’s 51 minute long length has some indie gems that’ll no doubt please fans of the band as well as new listeners. Let’s just hope next time the boys shake up their sound a bit more rather than let it settle.