V – The Horrors ★★★★½

2017VThe Horrors★★★★½86RockPsychedelic RockAlternative Dance

It’s interesting to have a band produce two great, very different sounding albums almost 10 years apart, with a lot of underwhelming, uncreative and forgettable stuff in between, but that’s what the Horrors did in 2018 when they released V

The Horror’s sophomore album, Primary Colours, was more raw and rugged, with energized shoegaze and post-punk tracks that had garage-esque spontaneity.  You can still trace V’s roots back to that, but it’s mostly hints of those genres mixed in with other elements that have been cleaned up and refined. 

V gives you bits of atmosphere-building dream pop and noise rock, industrial drums clanging and guitars revving, electronic house synths and pulses, some groovy madchester basslines, and some traditional, sometimes anthemic, alternative rock hooks. The album is loud and aggressive, but, while one would probably expect it to be a muddy and overwhelming blend, the production is crystal clear and immaculately balanced. 

The album is propped up by the fabulous opening three tracks. “Hologram” sets the industrial tone of the album flawlessly, opening with dissonant synths over a funky bass; a distant, wailing guitar leading into the track’s abrasive, echoing chorus, followed by a killer solo and calming piano outro. “Press Enter To Exit” is a more traditional alternative track that draws influences from 90s rock and dance production. Then, the aptly named “Machine” returns to a more abrasive, industrial style—loud with distorted guitar builds. 

The finale, “Something to Remember Me By,” is a dancy, synth-pop ballad that’s probably the album’s best song. 

It’s fun to listen to start to finish, as you get a truly unique and seamless blend of genres, and even within the softer songs in the middle of the album, there are these explosive, sprawling set pieces that take over and demand your attention.

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