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The Horrors' New Album Primary Colours Reviewed Track-By-Track
Kev Kharas , March 24th, 2009 09:37

In which three Quietus hacks count the ways in which they love thee

'Mirror’s Image'

John Doran: This album has upset nearly everyone I know. Whether they like goth or Krautrock.
Luke Turner: They haven't heard it, mind.
Kev Kharas: The song sounds like it’s figuring itself out. Like it’s not completely sure of itself yet.
JD: But to me it feels like taking drugs with a girl you like when you're 16 and the sun's out.
LT: Keeps you guessing at the beginning. Nice backwards shoe-y thing.
JD: Backwards shoes.
LT: Will they trip up? Ooo, me ducks.
KK: No – the sound’s immediately ‘flatter’ than previous efforts. No hillocks. Ironed out goth staccato into horizontal kraut-y planes.
JD: That lurching arpeggio is amazing… Like the way music goes all fucked when you're coming up on drugs or you're just about to be sick.
KK: Trying not to sick up your drugs.
JD: I think if you were having a dream about all the different times that you got cut and bled, each one appearing as a Polaroid, this song would be playing in the background. Starting off with paper cuts and nicks and ending with the one that ends it all perhaps.
KK: A flick book of pain.
JD: Yeah, done on a big post-it pad stolen from the last job you got the sack from.

'Three Decades'

KK: Settles into its groove here. Bloody-minded.
LT: That bit there makes me feel right unusual… Like you’re about to fall off a very bloody big thing in a dream.
JD: Once I was sat outside my chalet in ATP with XXX XXXXXX and we had some really strong pills. We came up like the fucking space shuttle and he was sick.
KK: Ike Turner?
JD: Then a great big seagull swooped down and ate XXX's pill out of his vomit and flew off. This is what that seagull heard before it died of a heart attack.
LT: And there’s a bit of a moment of consciousness where it feels real.
JD: ‘Three Decades’ is about right because thirty years ago is when The Psychedelic Furs were popular. I think. Did you know that ‘Pretty in Pink’ means she looks good with no clothes on?
KK: Who is this ‘she’?
JD: Caroline, the subject of Psychedelic Furs' ‘Pretty In Pink’. Before your time.
KK: My dad used to play it in his old Jag.
JD: Haha. Jag rock. Almost as good as yacht rock. I think he looked better with bigger hair. But I like the VU look that some of the others are rocking now. There’s lots of playground noises, squealing roundabouts and swings in the rain. Unoiled chains clanking.
KK: Southend?
JD: Southend or Margate. Or anywhere on the Dymchurch Light Railway on the way to Dungeness.

'Who Can Say'

LT: I like this bit… steps it right up. Getting nice and bruisy.
JD: Woah, MARY CHAIN it.
KK: MBV – but what track? What’s the one Nadja just covered?
JD: ‘Only Shallow’. I'd like to hear this while wearing leather trousers. Then there’s the Ronettes bit.
KK: Sounds like the sort of band that'd kill The Ronettes and wear them as a skin suit.
LT: (Lyrics: "And when I told her I didn't love her anymore, she cried. And when I told her her kisses were not like before she cried. And when I told her another girl had caught my eye she cried. And then I kissed her but the kiss could only mean goodbye") Is this about Peaches?
JD: I hope so.
KK: Would you wear her as a skin suit?
JD: I would wear her as a badly stitched lady suit and dance under the moon howling into the abyss.
KK: You’d probably get ‘papped’ doing it though.
JD: If Faris was truly a Rotter he’d fuck Sir Bob. I’d like to hear this on a car stereo on a deserted beach.
KK: All your car analogies seem to see the thing stopped. It sounds like drink driving music to me. Window down. Red eyes.
JD: Well it’s driving. And it sounds drunk.
KK: Yeah it is driving. Farris’ voice seems to wheel around in the middle of it all though. Like a drunk careering across the M25, miraculously avoiding bumpers.
JD: Have you seen that YouTube of those girls on PCP running down the M25 and they keep getting hit and getting up and running off again? It’s well dark, blud.
KK: No. I did once try to write a short-story about a man ceaselessly driving a hearse around the M25 in a search for eternal life. But I never finished it.

'Do You Remember'

JD: BOOM! Fucking great intro…
KK: There’s a familiar looseness to it… the gap between guitar and rhythm section sounds like, I dunno, The Stone Roses…
JD: That's interesting because as Brother John Robb's book points out, The Stone Roses used to be a goth band. You can hear all that reverb is basically the same thing.
LT: He does sound like Bert (Brett Anderson) in this one too.
JD: Goth gaze.
KK: I want to go to the parties this music is written for.
JD: Some people are going to be thinking that this is all some kind of really austere Neu!/art school thing but I reckon some tracks like this and ‘Who Can Say’ are like high-school romance songs really. A touch of post punk gaze Springsteen.
KK: I’m not sure about Springsteen. The high-school romance thing yes – there is something recklessly massive about the record, but it sounds active rather than contemplative. If that makes sense?
JD: Yeah. Active like a volcano.
KK: But it’s definitely not one for geysers.

'New Ice Age'

KK: This is a bit closer to their old stuff.
JD: I don’t really think you can call this a new direction, really. Everyone is frothing at the chops about them doing a U-turn but really it’s an obvious progression. This is stern but it’s romantic stern.
KK: From teen shock tactics to the more subtle subversion of the angry young man’s employable early twenties.
LT: This is the ‘Death Valley 69’ bit…
JD: From drinking cider in graveyards to drinking red wine in…?
KK: Wetherspoons. The government should be thankful for Wetherspoons. They’re saving a fortune on care homes.
JD: The same man always stood outside, looking forlornly at the space on his finger where his wedding ring used to be. Now pawned for a bottle of Bell’s eight-year blend.

'Scarlet Fields'

KK: Shades of red. Reminds me of The Cure only in that way. Soft suburban edges. Crawley traffic lights melting in the rain. Pop-goth.
JD: Rather than apocalypto-goth which would be Crawley melting into the apocalypse.
LT: That sounds like a telly ident from the 80s, that parpy thing at the beginning.
JD: So does the intro to the new Depeche Mode album. Well, Anglia from the 70s.
KK: Oh, it’s this one – this one is fucking great. I like how lazy he sounds. It’s not dude-ish at all.
JD: The only time I killed an animal I hit a rat to death with a length of steel – dude-ish?
KK: Not lax as American – drawly or Casablancas. It’s weary but in a civil way. English.
JD: They are very European. It's well deep, blood. Have you noticed how the weather gets good every time we put this on?
KK: Summer of (stern) love. Liaisons with the ecstatic Kraut.
JD: Nice closing tone. No matter how stern or druggy, it’s got massive pop hooks.

'I Only Think Of You'

JD: This is just fucking awesome this track. I can’t stop playing it. A great addition to the canon of songs about coming down off drugs. Also uses the noble ‘coming down off drugs/having your heart broken’ analogy.
KK: Wonder what it’d sound like sped to ‘45’?
JD: We should speed it to ‘78’ and see if it’s part of the ‘ardkore ‘nuum.
KK: Look busy, Reynolds is coming.
JD: It’s a rave Lewis!
KK:You can tell rave has happened to this record. It doesn’t sound completely detached.
JD: There were loads of records that came out in the late 80s where you could tell rave was happening – not like Primal Scream’s fucking cack-handed Screamadelica, but like Isn’t Anything. Daydream Nation. Loop and Spacemen 3. They all sounded written on E.
KK: Noise crash. Train wreck in slow-mo.
LT: Yes.
KK: Twisted metal puncturing drug guts.
JD: Could be a demo from Dog Man Star.
LT: If we're talking ATP and seagulls this one's like when I got lost in the fog on Romney Marsh at 5am and the seagulls kept appearing out of the white wall to stare at me with pitying looks in their eyes.
JD: The handbrake penetrates your thigh.
KK: He sounds like he’s got the moon stuck in his throat.
JD: Ha ha ha. It sounds like he's got icicles in his heart's ventricles.
KK: I can imagine him waking up in a smoking jacket on a chair upholstered in red velvet, with a plate of half-gnawed cheese in his lap. Like a terrifying doze dream.
JD: Nice melancholy cello there. I feel like Ophelia floating away listening to this. A watery grave awaits me.

'I Can’t Control Myself'

JD: This sounds like 'Come Together' by Spiritualized.
LT: It's in a funny order this album. The sequencing, like…
JD: I like it. They've stuck the new (Neu!) single right at the end, so you have to wait for it. So all the while you'll be thinking ‘This is all better than the single even!’
KK: Yeah, agreed. I like that the songs all sound right next to each other but don't melt into one.

'Primary Colours'

KK: Turn it up?
JD: Good time rock and roll. The most positive of the songs.
KK: It sounds celebratory. Delirious.
JD: Doesn’t have that really dark edge to it.
LT: This is the one with the melody we recognised but couldn't place…
JD: This is the most Psychedelic Furs-y.
KK: nice draggy guitar FX.
JD: It doesn't matter how many times I mention Psychedelic Furs, there just isn't going to be a revival, I can feel it.
KK: I think it might be YYYs. "The year to be hated". But not. Definitely not, actually.
JD: That’s right. It sounds like them I think.
KK: Nice bit of light in amidst the gloom.

'Sea Within A Sea'

JD: Sounds like a fairground carousel but this time not terrifying. Neu!... The song that has upset all music journalists apart from us.
KK: Chanced upon this in my girlfriend’s car on the radio yesterday. Sounds great on the motorway late at night and like a completely different track by the end.
LT: This is not a record by a Mighty Boosh band, thank the Lord. This record might make the Hawley Arms combust. And Boosh twat's nose drop off.
KK: Here comes the synth… sounds like the best Hallowe'en party ever.
JD: The greatest DJ set right now would include this and 'Happy House’ by The Juan MacLean. And maybe 'Sheer Heart Attack' by Queen.
KK: Even if it is more of a natural progression than a U-turn, it’s so rare you get a British band today who, if they do graduate their sound, don’t resort to strings and stool-bound acoustic sessions. The synths sound like light bouncing off a cathedral spire.
JD: Nice fade. You could be listening to this on your iPod and look out the bus window and see a pretty girl going into a greengrocers and it would be a perfect moment. This keyboard bit is ace. Like a grimey ‘Your Love’ by Jamie Principle or Frankie Knuckles.
LT: Definitely Ely Cathedral, Kev. Quite Fenland.

Kudos to Plan B's 'Singles Column' for pushing us towards Instant Messenger for this article