Album Reviews

The Horrors – Strange House

(Loog) UK release date: 5 March 2007


As S Club 7 would have surely noted (had they still been gracing us with their presence): there ain’t no disagreement like a Horrors disagreement.

Now we’re at the stage where in certain bars in deepest Hoxton, mere mention of their name can cause previously upstanding members of indie-society to lose control, beating the instigator to a bloody pulp with an old copy of Face magazine and a sharpened Cramps album.

While next door the watering-hole will f�te the kohl-eyed avengers as deities; their gothabilly stylings taken as gospel; their every gravity defying hair-styling decision pored over in fine detail. And you, you’ve probably already decided where you’re drinking.

If you’ve decided to discount the joys of supping pints of blood from a silver goblet whilst wearing a cape because you think black makes you look fat, you’re a fool. Because while far from perfect, Strange House has an awful lot to commend it. It’s gloriously macabre for one. It’s stupendously exciting for two. And, for the special prize, it has many more actual, proper songs then may have been expected.

With a guitar riff strummed from a ribcage, a pipe-organ from Beelzebub’s very own merry-go-round and a vocal from a Dickensian serial killer, if there is a more deliciously deviant three minutes of music presented this year than Draw Japan, it’ll need to involve a vat of Vaseline and a shaved goat. While if you ever wondered what it would sound like if you sacrificed The Shadows, then reincarnated them and then got them to cover Parklife, Excellent Choice provides the answer: flippin’ ace.

The flaws are mainly when the breakneck pace drops. Their (re-recorded) version of Screaming Lord Sutch’s Jack The Ripper crawls where you’d want it to go berserk and She Is The New thing is a plodding bystander amongst the murderous carnage of the rest of the album.

But while you’re smack bang in the middle of that carnage it’s hard to do anything except smile, grab an axe and start hacking. Sheena Is A Parasite is as perfect a piece of Stooge-like dumb punk as it seemed when Samantha Morton first flung her squid at us, while the doomsday clock countdown of the eerie A Train Roars would have made an excellently ending.

It isn’t, because they unnecessarily stick a bonus track on the end, but never mind. They look great, they’ve got the stage show to scare middle England and now, schlock, horror, they have a debut record which is better then anyone could have hoped. What the fuck else would you want from a band? Hand me my cape, mine’s a glass of the red stuff.


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