The Horrors
Skying


4.0
excellent

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
August 15th, 2011 | 46 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist


It remains somewhat confounding to me that shoegaze has been able to maintain popularity through all these years. The genre always seemed earmarked to become a mere footnote fad in the great colossus that is pop culture, mainly because it never seemed prone to versatility. Yet here we are in 2011 and at least a couple of bands a year enter their hat into the shoegaze ring--often to great effect. Even related forms, such as hazy dream-pop (Beach House) and chillwave (Washed Out), have ensured a quality output (both critically and amongst the legions in the blogosphere) from that fuzzy umbrella of shoegaze. This year already we’ve seen a solid release from homage-mongers The Pains of Being Pure at Heart; but unlike Belong, The Horrors’ Skying isn’t trying to resemble Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine so much as a bastard-child (in the best way possible) between those two '90s college heroes and the post-punk, garage scene of Britain in the 1980s.

Such an amalgamation of sounds is embedded in The Horrors' history: the switch from 2007’s ho-hum, gimmicky garage-punk of Strange House to the warmly received shoegazy 2009 release Primary Colours is territory well enough tread as to be in danger of experiencing OK Computer Syndrome. Beyond this minute point, that history of the band can fortunately be left by the wayside, allowing any discussion of Skying to avoid pedantic musings on how Faris Badwan sounds less like a madman, or how the band just sounds more, you know, serious. Instead we can focus on the evolution of sound between Primary Colours and Skying, an album title so apropos: the fuzzy atmospherics, trumpet-like synths, droning keys, and swirling guitars make the album sound huge. But at the same time the record finds the band embracing their pop side more than ever--so “huge” never becomes “soiled histrionics.” Even the long jam cut, “Moving Further Away,” avoids overt psychedelia by locking into a jaunting groove that makes the nearly nine minutes of the track’s runtime feel brisk.

Skying fairs best in this mode too, and the band does well to avoid straying too far from the path of brisk, groove heavy tunes. And as for the dangers of having the songs blur together with such a steady tempo? The Horrors provide a surprising amount of diversity, mostly due to the voice of frontman Badwan. At times it sounds high-reaching and grandiose, such as on the catchy chorus of “I Can See Through You,” while at other turns he grasps low and foggy, such as on the lead single “Still Life.” Only the gorgeous closer “Oceans Burning” drops the tempo down with vibes and guitar sprawl that simply washes the album away. A great album it proves to be as well; Skying manages to hone a sound that moves beyond simply being “another shoegaze” album and becoming one of the best releases of 2011. If Primary Colours still left any doubt, Skying makes it certain that The Horrors have moved on from the shadow of the (unfortunate) title of being NME darlings and into a realm where their future releases become something to mark on the calendar.



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user ratings (208)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Hernan M. Campbell STAFF (4.5)
Evolution takes its course....

LudditeStereo (3.5)
Either British rock’s Next Big Thing or the best post-punk cover band of all time...

Ali CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Another big step forward for one of the most improved bands around....


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2011


10495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

oh yeah

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

thebhoy
Emeritus
August 15th 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

heyyyy Klappy. Guys remember me? I still write here, who knew?

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2011


10495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

glad you wrote this bc i was never getting around to it. i have a hard time writing about it even though i love the sound. big improvement over primary colors imo too

thebhoy
Emeritus
August 15th 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hope NME don't read this

wabbit
August 15th 2011


7009 Comments


god you write like Hemingway.

feanaro
August 15th 2011


852 Comments


4.0

'shoegaze' used in review

instant listen. great review, love the genre in almost all its myriad forms.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Believe in No Coming Shore

iFghtffyrdmns
August 15th 2011


7047 Comments


shoegaze you say?
hmm....

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm a big fan of the genre, didn't like the album much at all. It was just kind of... bland.

I did a video review of it, I don't really know where I'd put it on this site though :/

PinkBlackberry
August 15th 2011


2346 Comments


Explain shoegaze in one word.

Don't you dare say "Awesome" - so help me god if you say awesome..

Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2011


7311 Comments


Eh wait wut since when was Keelan H. a Staff on SputnikMusic? Or a user, even?!

;)

Kris.
August 15th 2011


12345 Comments


good review idk if id like this at all but these guys were funny on the mighty boosh

transatlanticfoe
August 15th 2011


171 Comments


found a rar of this but i had to download the .txt file with the password in it separately and to do that i was prompted to take a survery

lol

WhiteWallStargazers
August 16th 2011


2647 Comments


Cover art is pretty

Sleaper
August 16th 2011


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hmm interesting review. Im suprised this has actually had a positive response.
album lacks the goods, and has too many fillers.

Digging: Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2011


6487 Comments


Heard a lot of good things about this, already. Count me curious

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

TheArkitecht
August 16th 2011


1672 Comments


hmm shoegaze you say, this has me intrigued.

Waior
August 16th 2011


11454 Comments


love it

Tyrael
August 16th 2011


20899 Comments


Waior sighting!

Great review.

AggravatedYeti
August 16th 2011


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is more psychedelic rock than shoegaze but tomato/tomato.

love this album. and this reviewer.

thebhoy
Emeritus
August 16th 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

aww shucks yetigeddon... and I think this album should be seen as an "album" and less as a collection of individual songs.

Explain shoegaze in one word


Floorstaring





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