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By Charlie Baylis on 6.5.2023

Album Review – The Horrors – Primary Colours

In The Talented Mr Ripley, the eponymous character Tom Ripley exclaims “I’d rather be a fake somebody, than a real nobody”, a line that becomes his mantra when he steals the identity of the young, rich and spoilt Dickie Greenleaf. This revealing line applies greatly to The Horrors’ rapid change of direction, in completely ripping off Scottish shoegazer deities My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain they have succeeded in making an utterly brilliant, albeit highly derivative, second album. This borrowed identity doesn’t prevent Primary Colours from being a wonderfully enjoyable sophomore effort. The fact that, in parts, it sounds contrived is not a major issue, The Horrors commitment to style with a dash of substance has already been firmly established.

Furthermore, to their credit, The Horrors are not afraid to wear these obvious influences on their sleeve, Douglas Hart of the aforementioned Jesus and Mary Chain was hired to direct the video to the magnificent, sprawling Sea Within a Sea, and every track on Primary Colours features the should-be-patented, also aforementioned, My Bloody Valentine style guitar distortion. There is a great deal of riotous anger in the early moments of Primary Colours, particularly on breathtaking opener Mirror’s Image, and also on the following two tracks Three Decades and Who Can Say, all of which are reminiscent of Pornography era Cure. The pace is then somewhat slowed down by Do You Remember, allowing the listener a chance to grab some air before New Ice Age and Scarlet Fields arrive to destroy your speakers.

The best moments of Primary Colours come towards the end, the penultimate and title track is the albums definitive statement, upbeat and melodic, an approximation of what would happen if The Pogues gatecrashed Echo and the Bunnymen. Even better is the album’s closing track Sea Within a Sea, which I could probably spend this entire review writing about, it’s a hypnotic and unsettling eight minute meshing of Joy Division and Kraftwerk, in which not a second is wasted, the pinnacle being at 3.40 when the spiralling synthesiser arrives. After hearing Sea Within a Sea for the first time I was left spellbound, for ten seconds I dwelt on what felt like a revolution, before awakening from my trance like state and playing the track again.

The Horrors are a stylish outfit, and with Primary Colours they now have the sounds to back up their aesthetic edge. Accusations of plagiarism should not deter anyone interested in hearing this album, nor should it be considered a detriment to The Horrors’ triumph, as to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’.

9/10

Comments

  • Hmm.. Not quite a ‘hero’ were you, eh Jamie?

    By Vickie on 17.5.2023

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  • Thanks ‘guitar hero’ 😉

    By Charlie on 17.5.2023

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  • Wow top article and absolutely spot on

    nice bit of writing about a brilliant brilliant album

    absolute belter

    By Jamie Stephens on 7.5.2023

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