LIVE REVIEW: The Horrors @ Metro Theatre, Sydney (03/02/12)

The Horrors | photo by Chris Familton

written by Chris Familton

Jack Ladder was in solo mode in the early opening slot and he showed that the songs from last year’s excellent Hurtsville LP can work just as well when stripped back to that rich, melodramatic voice and a fantastic effect laden guitar sound. He only managed to play a handful of songs before he was ushered stage right yet he impressed many of the arriving punters.

Perth’s Allbrook/Avery were no doubt unknown to the vast majority of the audience. Including a couple of Tame Impala members they take a different approach to retro-heavy music by dialing in 50s romantic pop and 70s glam rock with invigorating and often surprising results. It sounded like it was hanging together by a thread, delightfully so, and the interplay between the dual frontmen has a unique quirkiness that demands further exploration.

The Horrors have always been about image as much as music and from the lights to the hair, the clothes and the poses they are a complete package. So much so that they irk many people with their unabashed devotion to ‘rock n roll’ as an art concept. Opening with Endless Blue they fell victim to a still forming sound mix but that was quickly resolved and the Metro was treated to a wall of snapping drums and refreshingly loud bass guitar that underpinned the waves of guitar and synths.

Tracks from Skying and Primary Colours made up the setlist showing they have all but discarded their sub-Birthday Party, garage rock origins for brighter, more psychedelic pastures. The Horrors proudly wear their influences on their collars with Suede, Bowie, MBV, Psychedelic Furs and Bauhaus all emerging from the sonic mist, combining to best effect on the surging I Can See Through You. A majestic rendering of Still Life showed they are a band that uses synths as effectively as they do guitars while the epic krautrock pulse of Sea Within A Sea was a definitive highlight. Faris Badwan barely communicated with the crowd outside of his singing yet it mattered little. The Horrors are a band that has created themselves in the image and sounds of their heroes and they do it exceptionally well. The proof of a band’s integrity and claims of greatness are always tested on stage and The Horrors passed with flying colours.

this review was first published in The Drum Media

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