The Horrors have never lacked purpose. Up to now, they’ve kicked, they’ve screamed, they’ve experimented and they’ve decided to break big. All of this with formidable intent. On ‘Luminous’, everything pieced together before this moment makes greater sense than ever. If there was purpose previously, here it’s at the very forefront.
Every minute detail of this album - whether it’s in the playful, expansive instrumentals or the cut-throat baggy era guitars - is there for a reason. When ‘I See You’ stampedes into the crescendo to topple all others, it continues going until there’s no room left to breathe. Despite warning signs and plain common sense, it keeps going. Out steps a monster of a song, all because The Horrors keep pushing themselves until they’re on the brink of complete collapse. That’s just what they do.
Opener ‘Chasing Shadows’ spends half its time carefully getting into gear. When it gains charge, however, it sounds just as colossal as ‘Primary Colours’ at its vicious peak. Elsewhere, the rise of a song emerges a little less abruptly. ‘So Now You Know’ cruises into a festival anthem in waiting. ‘Change Your Mind’ drunkenly sways in opposition to ‘Luminous” electronic bulk - a rare moment of stripped-back, stark songwriting, frontman Faris Badwan could easily be found earnestly singing this song in a cruise ship karaoke bar.
When the synths step in - and boy to they have their moment - they’re executed in such a way that beastly guitars working tirelessly in the background don’t sound out of place. ‘In and Out of Sight’ is sleek, Giorgio Moroder-stamped and just about the most inventive thing The Horrors have put their name to since ‘Sea Within a Sea’. It takes hot-footed, stamping electronics currently sported by a group like Factory Floor and gives them a refined, noir-ish edge.
Champions of the new, they still have time for their past. ‘Jealous Sun’ is the heavens-falling-in centrepiece previous album ‘Skying’ cried out for, while this record’s standout ‘I See You’ is simply the next logical step in a career that keeps going. In an environment where bands are championed for simply surviving, The Horrors go several steps further. Fragments of the group’s past link together and the future illuminates in unison. ‘Luminous’ is the album they’ve been destined to make.
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