The Horrors – Skying.



I was genuinely rather looking forward to hearing The Horrors latest album ‘Skying’ based on the lead single ‘Still Life’,a rather wonderful anthemic slice of dark 80’s synth pop. I thought, finally, at last, The Horrors may deliver and justify in some way, the obsequious and quite baffling hype their output has thus far generated.  As I listened to ‘Skying’  it soon became apparent that, as ever, The Horrors have not produced a glittering, dark work of pop noir genius but the usual  dull insipid, stylised grave robbing piffle we have come to expect. It really is a complete cacophony of cock.

Rather like Grawp, ( Hagrid’s simple minded brother in Harry Potter) each song lumbers about haplessly searching for  direction, almost finds it and then collapses on its arse in an undignified heap. After being harrowed to the very core of my being  I decided to peruse a number of online reviews,  I mean surely they too would share my view. It was with abject incredulity that I sat open mouthed as five star review followed five star review!!  Could this really be the same album ? Had I been sent a different recording  in error? Produced by some sort of comedy Bauhaus tribute band in a tin bath?  The very same album  that critics have been positively w*nking themselves into a frenzy over, hailing  ‘Skying’  as some sort of defining moment in the history of rock n roll ? Indeed I almost spat out my tea when the NME boldly stated, sans punchline,  that the Horrors are now ‘the most important band of their generation’ I needed a second opinion; and there was only one man up to the job…

The album was dispatched to the desolate, windswept Yorkshire Moors, or more precisely to ‘Darklands Manor’ home to Richard The Goth, our specialist on all things undead…I mean  maybe I was wrong, maybe ‘Skying’ is in fact an unmitigated masterpiece and I have taken leave of my senses? …. What would Richard make of it …..



CLAAAANG…. the massive ornate brass door-knocker resounds against the 13th century oak cathedral door that guards the entrance to Darklands Manor. CLAAAAAANG… who on earth can it be at this hour of the night?   CLAAAAAANG…. Jesus, they’re making enough noise to wake the dead!  CLAAAAAAANG…. all right, all right I’m coming!.. Hmm, strange, nobody there, just a brown paper parcel left on the gravel drive outside the main portcullis. It’s from the Pipster, whatever can it be?  I retreat to the main drawing room and open it… it contains a gramophone record and a small white carte de visite, hastily inscribed in a trembling hand. Obviously written under some conditions of great distress and trauma, in shaky letters it says “I simply can’t face it. You’ll have to do it, old bean. Love, VP“…. Aw, crap! It’s the new Horrors LP! I’d read somewhere that it was that time of the year again, when assorted members of the press and online community tell us that this sorriest of bands has once again reinvented itself and delivered a stunning artistic meisterwerk. Well, we didn’t fall for it the last two times, so will it be third time lucky for Faris and his friends? Read on, good people, and find out.

In a word, no! I could go all around the houses and build up to it, but sod it, let’s just cut to the chase. For some reason, this clueless mob have an almost invincible “Emperor’s New Clothes” aura about them and in print and on the net otherwise sane people seem to be falling over one another to extol the greatness of “Skying”, their latest offering. Once again, it has been proclaimed as a bold daring sweeping statement, the sound of a great band once again finding a new and enthralling voice with which to captivate us. And, once again, it’s nothing of the sort. I am intrigued by the fact that, when it comes to the Horrors, the word “reinvention” seems to be bandied about all over the place, and yet again “reinvention” just seems to mean that they’ve found yet another sound to plagiarise. They’ve been wannabe Cramps/Gun Club/Birthday Party/My Bloody Valentine/god alone knows who else, and now they seem to have been captivated by a combination of late-period Psychedelic Furs circa “Book Of Days” and boring bland 80s empty bombast.

The Goth Factor

So many of the songs on this LP seem to follow the same format: approximately 45 seconds of really quite promising-sounding music where they almost make you think they have the beginnings of a decent idea, and then it just either falls apart the instant that Faris opens his mouth and starts to sing, or the music just kind of loses its way and meanders off into a mushy directionless drone. For me, Faris is still the eternal weak link in this whole set-up. He just doesn’t seem to possess his own voice. Every LP they put out, it’s “tonight Matthew, I’m going to be… ” (insert name of whichever leftfield rock vocalist he’s karaokeing this time). On “Skying” he veers between Butler Rep (as he did on “Primary Colours“) and Marc Almond, and once again fails to hit the heights of either.  And his lyrics are just as wincingly poor on this as they ever were in the past.

There are, as with the previous LP, one or two fleeting moments where things sound promising: the intros to both “Changing The Rain” and “I Can See Right Through You” are so Furs-esque that you can’t help but like the way they sound, but within less than a minute the illusion is over, and you’re brought back down to earth with a thud. Whereas the bands they so clearly love (and you can’t fault their taste in as much as they draw on the sounds of  some truly excellent bands) had an innate sense of structure, melody, a pop sensibility, or a direct mainline into the scuzzy soul of dirt-black rock ‘n’ roll, The Horrors simply don’t have it. They never have, they never will, no matter how hard they want it. Basically every track on this record is a lowlight, whether it’s the laughable attempt at arty rock-out weirdness on “Monica Gems” or the atrocious lighters-waved-in-the-air plodding finale of “Oceans Burning” which is so teeth-clenchingly po-faced it reminded me of nothing more than a goth Coldplay. Or there’s “You Said” which not only features the weediest Casio-type naff 80s keyboard sound I’ve heard in many a long year, but also the unbridled horror of Faris sounding dangerously close to Bono territory. Even more distressing is the fact that there’s a great deal of almost-baggy Madchester shuffle-shuffle plodding on a large proportion of the album too, most noticeably on tracks like “Dive In”. Dive in?.. no thanks, chaps, I’d rather dive into a vat of boiling jam than ever have to sit through this wretched waste of time ever again.

There will no doubt be cries of “foul” and “bias” in response to this, but I will state simply here and now, that I care not a jot! I listened from start to finish, and I honestly, genuinely, sincerely, from the bottom of my cold black little heart, hate this album. No wonder Von Pip was so aghast he couldn’t bring himself to listen to it again!  If memory serves me correctly, I gave “Primary Colours,” on a scale of one to ten, “less than one”. Well, I’m taking a point off for “Skying”.

I draw the heavy velvet drapes, I throw the brown paper parcel and its contents onto the roaring open fire, I collapse wearily onto an antique fainting couch and, by the flickering light of a taper candle, try to forget I ever heard this unspeakable thing in the first place.


Richard The Goth

Richard The Goth - Yesterday
Andy Von Pip

ANDY VON PIP - Founder, editor, writer, reviewer, photographer and all round good guy at the Has been new music tipster on BBC6 Music, Amazing Radio, and DJ on Strangeways Radio. His radio work has been described as sounding like Ian McCulloch on ketamine fused with Ringo Starr whilst contriving to make Paul Robeson sound like wee Jimmy Krankie. Currently new music tipster on Amazing Radio, moderator for 6 Music DJ Tom Robinson's Fresh on the Net. Words have appeared in or on The Quietus, Music Week, Record Of The Day, The Guardian, GIITV, The Sabotage Times, Bido Lito etc ... Nice beard too. You can check out his photography at Andy Von Pip Photography

Discussion23 Comments

    • Which album Knack Nick ? If you are referring to ‘Psychocandy’ I whole heartedly agree. However if you are directing those three little words, that you admirably managed to string together before your medication kicked in at the insipid and overrated ‘Skying’ then I fear we’ll never make it past first base.

    • Richard The Goth

      “Dickhead”??? Been called much worse (see comments following last Horrors LP review…. Smile )

  1. The reason why it has such good reviews is because Faris Badwan is the Rupert Murdoch of alternative music journalism. That’s an exclusive fact that we’ll have to follow up on with our own review.

    Admittedly, our review is more positive, but… Like I said, Faris is puppeting us all. I did really enjoy seeing some proper vitriol, though.

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    • I simply can’t agree with the assertion that the Horrors sound anything remotely like any of The Bunnymen’s various incarnations. McCulloch had a rich, dark, slightly exotic vocal style and even now, after years of industrial scale drinking and smoking, his treacle imbued rasp sounds a million times better than Faris’ dull, emotionless nasal mewling.

      Quite simply he doesnt sound like he means it, it’s devoid of emotion, charm and life, which I guess goes with the territory if you’re a musical Mestaclocan. Will Sergeants’ superb chiming guitar is light years away from the effects heavy ‘disguise’ Le Horrors employ.. .

      The Bunnymen also wrote magnificent dark swaggering anthems- whereas The Horror’s songs eddy and flow and never quite make the leap from interesting idea to interesting song (‘Still Life’ being the exception rather than the rule, but hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day) ….. Nope, nowt like the Bunnymen….. “Stars Are Stars” and The Horrors aren’t.

      • Richard The Goth

        No, I can’t really hear the Bunnies in there either, but you never know what some people hear echoes of, do you? I think they might mean the general overall air of early 80s alt/pop/rock/goth that The Horrors are going for on the LP in terms of the music, but certainly not the vocals!… the soaring voice of Mac The Mouth in his prime 80s pomp is a whole big wide world away from anything Faris’ vocal style can get close to.

  3. Oh what a load of shit. The album I mean, not the reviews which made me guffaw. “A complete cacophony of cock.”” yeh.

  4. The Arm Of The Lord

    u pair of gay cunts. Skying is amazing, far better than Loveless or Psycho Candy u pricks

    • I say young sir or miss, wash your mouth out with soap … it’s not the swearing that offends, but that you mention Psychocandy, one of the finest debut albums ever recorded, in the same breath as these jokers. In fact forget the soap, use bleach..

    • Richard The Goth

      Ahahahahahahahaha!!!! (wipes tears of larffter from eyes)…. oh, Arm, Arm, you’re either a hoaxer trying to stir things just for a laugh, or you’ve done a Michael Myers and, even now, are at large in the community… If memory serves correctly, we were accused of extreme gayness last time I reviewed the horrors were we not, VP? … was that you as well, Mr or Ms Of The Lord? hahahaha, can you say “latency”, hmmmm? As for the “this is better than Psychocandy”, well, you are clearly as mad as a brush, or as deaf as a post, I’m not sure. Still, if you prefer this festering heap of pigswill to the sweeping epic grandeur and scorching sonic genius of the Mary Chain, good luck to you old bean. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to don a feather boa and a sequinned evening gown and sing show tunes at the top of my voice… all together now…. “I AAAAAAM WHAT I AAAAAM” Smile

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    • Are you really? You don’t seem too sure. I do hope you have a copious supply of tissues, just in case. Mind you, better to jack off to this than “Syking” which flickers briefly before collapsing on its skinny pretentious little arse. Essentially it’s dreadfully over- hyped scenester nonsense by a band that are and have always been, the consummate example of style over substance. On paper they are a band I should like; on record they are quite simply as dull as dishwater . I’ll stick with the Psychedelic Furs, the Mary Chain and The Cure thanks. Bands who used their influences and melded them into something new and beautiful.

    • Richard The Goth

      Well, seeing as it was my good self who reviewed it, I can categorically state for the record that I did nothing of the kind, you saucy varmint!!! <Shock I have staff for that sort of thing, you know!

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  7. I am actually a Horrors fan but apparantly the only Horrors fan who understand the term “each to their own”. I mean really – “gay cunts”? I’m 15 and I’m embarrased. On behalf of the Horrors fans who can respect other’s opinions, I apologise for those comments!

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