Photos: David Emery

It was never my intention to write about this gig. I bought my ticket ages ago because my friend insisted, so, despite being apathetic at best to a lot of their stuff, I forked out the £15 and went for it. I don’t get out enough, so it was welcome. When I actually heard their new album, I wasn’t impressed at all. As a vocal member of FIAUT (Faris Is An Utter Twat), the album’s propensity to shove his darling voice in your face doesn’t help. To me the whole album sounded like a tragic mess – Spider And The Flies I can deal with, and I go to Rhys’ Cave Club from time to time, but the mix of psyche, kraut, punk and NME indie styles were grating and sounded like a band at complete odds. Here’s a band who have all the right influences (motorik beats, fuzzy psyche guitars, Cluster synths) but are shoving them all together to show how cool they are. The whole point of Kraut is to allow space, the whole point of Psyche is to have room to breathe, so why were they just taking these things and shoving it in their claustrophobic little gothwave hole?

Well, it seems it’s not the fault of the songs themselves, which is why I wanted to write this review. Yeah, it’s slightly (very) arrogant to think you give a fuck about my particular opinion on how the songs sound to me, so perhaps you should read this as a catharsis. It’s meant to be for people like me, who, when they first hear the album, are going to be so disgusted about how it appears to take all the coolness out of cool influences in an attempt to be relevant and understand what it is that makes the songs tick. It’s meant to explain that in real life, the songs aren’t the claustrophobic shambles they first come across to me on the LP, they’re actually pretty damn wonderful.

A lot of support has come out for this record already, notably from The Quietus and our own editor, who probably won’t thank me for these words, so I’m probably wrong. But bear with me. Even if you love the album on record, shit’s going to go next level when you see them live.

After the pretty OK Toy, kinda a fuzzy wuzzy psych band that’s more akin to Cave or Mousetrap where it’s more intimate than being up on stage for a gig like this, we got The Horrors. Opening, quite usefully, with album opener ‘Changing The Rain’ there was instantly something up. There’s space there! It’s not all cramped down to make a very good song a pop song instead, it actually grew and pulsed and sounded like a proper song that had its own space to breathe. Even Faris’ voice had been tamed to a whinge rather than a scream and it was an epiphany. The song makes sense now and it’s no longer the difficult, awkward sounding mess I once thought it to be. It’s opened up and blossomed.

It continues: each track that I had heard on the record and foolishly dismissed as a bland, over produced and smug mess came alive and showed itself to be the stunning future pop nugget it really was. Tom Furse’s synths have grown from the organs felt in the second album to a range of fantastic retro futuristic kraut noises that, combined with Joseph Spurgeon’s motorik rhythms and Rhys’ pulsing and grooving bass lines, are worthy of lord and master Rother himself. On top of this was the dynamic work of Joshua’s guitars which tore through the magnificent but flat work of his previous albums and each song had new and interesting ideas. Ok, so I might be going through a slight phase of hyperbole here, but the songs morphed into something fresh and new and one of the greatest sounds out there live.