Published May 02, 2014Although their first album came out a little over seven years ago, it seemed like eons passed between the release of the Horrors' weirdo garage rock debut, 2007's Strange House, and their psychedelic ode to shoegaze, 2011's Skying. In that time, the band progressed from immature idolaters praying at the feet of Screaming Lord Sutch and the Sonics, to critically adored tastemakers climbing the ranks of the British festival circuit.
Now, with a trio of albums under their belt and respect from peers and musical pundits alike, the Horrors are ready to carve out a spot in the UK limelight that is distinctly their own. Recorded by the band at their private studio over the past year, Luminous finds the Horrors slicing through the shrouds of heavily-soaked reverb and paltry compositions that defined their past two LPs.
Although the band have described their newest album as their lightest and most danceable to date, the statement should be taken with a grain of salt; Luminous is a tremendously dense record, but one that manages to find ample breathing space for each of its studio takes.
Synthesizers shudder next to guitarist Joshua Hayward's buzzsaw riffs on album opener "Chasing Shadows," while elsewhere, tremolo-heavy chords crunch alongside crusted bass lines ("Jealous Sun"). Judging by band members' chosen instruments alone, one could deduce that keyboardist Tom Cowan is having the most fun this time around, as reverb-riddled guitars continually step aside for his spacious synthesizers and percolating percussion ("In and Out of Sight").
"So Now You Know" is the clear standout single from this set, but "I See You," with its seven-plus-minute runtime and psychedelic scripture, is a close second. Symbols of vision, light, darkness and sight cloud the album's lyrics and liner notes, making Faris Badwan seem like the second coming of Ram Dass. Still, if there's truth to his statement that he can "see your future" on "I See You," at least it sounds mildly bright.