chris cunningham

Album Review: Primary Colours - The Horrors

Having historically attracted a level of hype that can only be lead to disappointment the Horrors, as of album number one, were the kind of band BlackPlastic loves to hate. With gimmicks over style and absolutely anything over any substance it was easier to ignore their existence than analyse or comment on it.

The hype machine is in full motion once more but this time something is different. The Horrors' follow up album Primary Colours, produced by Geoff Barrow (of Portishead), Chris Cunningham and Craig Silvey, is not just not crap, it's actually pretty bloody spectacular. To the point that it's now become accepted hype to discuss how surprisingly not-shit it actually is.

Veering from the quite good to the brilliant the references are clear - there are the usual post-punk touchpoints, Joy Division, The Replacements, Neu!. What really separates Primary Colours from being another tired post-punk re-tread is that it sounds, and feels, totally uncompromisingly real. As the warm electronic waves give way to a lead bass guitar and bags of reverb drenched drums on opener 'Mirror's Image' this doesn't sound like a modern day take on post punk, or classic post-punk - it sounds like the band flicked through their record collection, stopped after Joy Division's Closer and just wondered... "What if...?"

Primary Colours is like an alternative version of history - what if the most exciting period of musical history had not simply turned into into New Romanticism and had instead evolved from the stripped back experimentation of the late 70s / very early 80s? Barrow and company's production work is sublime but there is more to this album than just that - there are real, proper, difficult songs here. From the weird sliding guitar sounds of 'Three Decades', the brutally cold selfishness of 'Who Can Say' and it's awkward spoken word bridge to the distorted krautrock of 'Sea Within A Sea' Primary Colours is better than anyone could have expected. It's harsh and beautiful and maginificent.

The pretenders just became the feel thing.

Available at on CD, LP and MP3.

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