Are The Horrors the goth Human League? It certainly sounds that way on Moving Further Away, an eight-minute epic on which Horrors’ vocalist Faris Badwan channels a mock heroic baritone in the grand tradition of Phil Oakey, while some of the freshest and most catchy synths since Love Action trill away in the background.
That, however, would never be enough for The Horrors; Moving Further Away may begin as a melodic and propulsive synth thing, but at the six-minute mark it darts down a dark alley where The Horrors come face to face with many of their many other influences.
In fact, spot the influence is a game music fans of a certain dotage may like to play with the Essex band’s third album.
Two years ago, on their second release, the majestic Primary Colours, Badwan and co. looked like something from a stage musical based on the dastardly careers of Burke and Hare (with a side order of Dr Crippen). But any accusations of novelty were more than blown away on that near masterpiece of an album, an act of defiance which continues on the equally gorgeous Skying.
The kaleidoscopic I Can See Through You could be one of the songs of the year with its vast rushes of keyboard, the dazed psychedelics of Dive In give way to a hugely enjoyable rock out, Still Life is all Simple Minds at their most expansive, and the frenetic Monica Gems marries early Pink Floyd with early Suede.
Spot the influence indeed. When The Horrors introduce a horn section on the slow-motion haze of Endless Blue, it sounds like something somewhere off in the distance before the song abruptly shifts up several gears into territory last crunched underfoot by ’90s guitar slingers Swervedriver and Ride.
Seeped in mystery and played with an unashamed embrace of nineties shoegaze and goth rock, Skying is an album that will keep calling you back if only to see if you can work out what’s going on this time around.