In Review: The Horrors - Lout
The Horrors have always been a hard band to pin down: each record seems to come with its own ever-shifting identity and latest EP, Lout, is no different, albeit with a heavier, more industrial sound than ever before.
Lout’s title track is a surprising return to the garage-punk roots that encapsulated 2007’s gothic debut record, Strange House. It's an especially startling and abrupt introduction, given previous albums like the Mercury Prize-nominated Primary Colours, 2011’s Skying, and 2014’s Luminous dabbled with dream pop, shoegaze, and psychedelia. This time around however, frontman Faris Badwan’s crooning vocals have been replaced with abrasive and at times incomprehensible shouting that compliments the distorted, crunching soundscape, produced for the most part by guitarist Joshua Hayward.
The Southend five-piece double down on the 90s industrial ethos on second track ‘Org’, with elements of glitchy, uncomfortable electronica that’s reminiscent of early Death Grips. It’s unlike anything the band has produced before and is a world away from the Gary Numan-inspired top-line synths that typified their last full-length album, 2017's V. 'Whiplash' closes the three-track EP, and replicates the eerie industrial feel of the previous track but with more of a melodic core. It’s raw, hard-hitting, and certainly not one for the everyday listener - especially given that, sonically, it borders on Marilyn Manson-esque metal. Unfortunate timing.
Anyone listening to previous material that the band have put out, and then proceeding to take a deep dive into Lout could be forgiven for thinking that it's a completely different band entirely. But in this case, they've re-injected the 'horror' into The Horrors and Lout is a fine return to form for a band who were possibly fading into their own nostalgia.
Lout is out now via Wolf Tone.