Review: The Horrors – V

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 at 1:35 PM
Review: The Horrors – V by Roman Sabella

                                            Rating: ★★★★☆

“V” is a mix of all the things I love about music and to an extent, art as a whole.

To be completely honest, I had never heard of this band before. Not once were they regularly in my rotation, and yet here I am raving about their newest album like a long-time fan.

Album artwork is something that seemingly has lost its way with the rise of lackluster and dull compared to vibrant and poignant artwork that seems to mark the transition from vinyl and CD to digital only. “V” managed to pull me in based solely on the cover, and that is only the beginning of its excellence.

Since the inception of the album started back in June 2015, the band has been a supporting act for both New Order and more recently Depeche Mode, both of which ring through in the titles on the record as a present day homage to the new wave movement of the early 80s.

The album achieves this homage both vocally, as lead singer Faris Badwan holds a glaring similarity to the sound of both the previous bands singers, and musically, with large instrumental interludes blending together the somber, melodic croon of Badwan’s vocals.

As soon as the album starts off, the listener is greeted with the opening track “Hologram,” which personally is one of the best on the album.

With swirling synths, heavily distorted guitar reminiscent of songs like New Order’s “Blue October” and the overarching question of “Are we just holograms?” the song journeys from a quiet start to large stadium filling choruses which echoing and delayed vocals giving the song a very dynamic feeling.

Following the very temporary fade out, the song bleeds organically into the next track, “Press Enter to Exit,” which carries a downtempo funk feel which is a welcome change of pace for those who aren’t fans of the more psychedelic feels of the new wave genre.

While some may despise this possible oversaturation of 80s aesthetic, both sonically and in look, I for one am happy as a clam soaking up this rich nostalgia as it is not the same recycled, but instead put through the possibility of today’s music.

This is new wave the likes of which was not possible in its prime, as sound engineers can now micromanage the music to a T and add dozens of layers to each soundscape while never overloading your brain. It’s always different, and I adore it for that.

This is not the whole of the album though, as songs like “Machine” call to mind bands the likes of Nine Inch Nails and other industrial/post-punk acts, while “Ghost” has a trip-hop sound akin to something that you might find on SoundCloud.

 Even though I am not a fan of industrial music, it still sounds perfect. The sound production on this album is a glaring example of how far the recording industry has advanced, as no sound is muddled by another even when there are five to seven instruments playing simultaneously.

While some bands may try to stay away from sounding like their influences, The Horrors take the challenge head on, making an album that sounds like Depeche Mode filtered through a psychedelic kaleidoscope.

Stream "V" below: 

Roman Sabella is the voices editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

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