The Horrors – Luminous

LuminousA work should be judged on its own merits. This is, however, easier said than done for The Horrors, who since 2009's stunning Primary Colours have had an albatross around their neck as they try to ultimately move on from and better such a seminal work. This problem plagued their 2011 follow up album, Skying, which is an excellent album when looked at on its own; the issue at hand is that, when played live, out alongside tracks from Primary Colours these songs are too similar and not an improvement. There has been no sense of progression. On this knowledge, how does the five piece's fourth album, Luminous, hold up? Have they been able to finally move on from Primary Colours and step out of its shadow?

The early signs have been positive. In late February, "I See You" arrived on the scene with a groove borrowed straight out of the Donna Summer handbook; it was enough to make you wonder if The Horrors were about to unleash a full blown disco album on the world.

They haven't, but it's not far from the reality. On Luminous, The Horrors have created an album full of tracks you can dance to. This might seem surprising for a band, who are generally associated with such raging tracks as "Who Can Say?" and "New Ice Age". However it's actually the logical next step from the krautrock that characterised The Horrors' two most recent albums: krautrock is made up of pattern-based psychedelic jamming. This pattern based jamming in turn leads to repetitive grooves, which is the fundamental ingredient of music to dance to. You wouldn't have expected it from The Horrors, but in Luminous they have created several tracks, such as "In And Out Of Sight" and "First Day Of Spring" that you can dance to. It's moody dance music, but it's dance music regardless.

Elsewhere on the album, The Horrors have mellowed out and created some dreamy tracks. The majority of these tracks don't sound dissimilar from some of the tracks on Skying, but they're still a sonically majestic set that compliment the more dance based tracks perfectly. "Change Your Mind" is the strongest of these tracks and is a far cry from the mediocre garage punk of the quintet's debut album, Strange House.

The Horrors are a band that continue to surprise. You would never have expected them to go on to become treasures of the alternative UK music scene after 2007's Strange House. Then just when you think they're stuck in a rut creatively after delivering two very similar sounding albums (Primary Colours and Skying), they refine their sound and deliver a mature album that yields fresh joy with every listen.

Release: 5th May, XL Recordings


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