The world is awash with reviews of the new Horrors album Primary Colours. Vice has given it 10 out of 10, Drowned in Sound 8 and steely Guardian critics are racing to hail it as a miracle previously so inconceivable that they risk losing their readership. All this and the album won’t even be released until May 4th. Enough hype to tempt any young internet pirate to consult their bit torrent websites, or perhaps a clever marketing ploy to turn round a band’s publicity? Which, up to this point has been mostly terrible, or perhaps they just didn’t think it would get such a positive reaction?
Despite not having a promo copy, or having the audacity to steal (and write about it) I can legally glean a feel for the album via mp3’s currently doing the blog-round. So first impression, where did he get that voice?! Almost completely transformed from the punkish squawking of their previous recordings, sitting very tightly between sonic youth and Joy Division, and for the most part sounding very authentic. At least it would, if it wasn’t such a drastic(ish) departure and so-soon in their career.
Even on Kanye’s recent departure from rapping to singing (with auto-tune), you could still hear the voice of his first album.
Is vocal authenticity really important? I mean an artist “going in a new direction” is commonplace, but one thing that usually remains is the voice. Even on Kanye’s recent departure from rapping to singing (with auto-tune), you could still hear the voice of his first album. Whether that can be said about “Primary Colours” I’m not sure, which fuels the lightweight-hipster fire I imagine the Horrors hope to distinguish.
This, of course is the cynical view, a product of the mass media consumption and free newspaper gossip columns it’s hard to avoid. I for one quite liked their original sound, despite it’s limitations. Sheena is a Parasite felt exciting as did some of the others (didn’t get the album…), and the tracks I’ve heard so far on this album stand up on their own. The dull, nauseating production is perfect, dowsed in just enough reverb to allow the rhythm section to keep driving songs forward with the vocal placed low, but audible in the mix. Like, as mentioned before, a glossy version of Joy Division, less glossy than Editors. I would also like to add that when the stunted synth comes in on “Sea Within A Sea” it sounds incredible, before getting slightly hammed up in pursuit of a melody, but it is the albums finale so maybe I should reserve judgement…