The Horrors rate higher than horrible

Unfortunately, The Horrors’ latest release doesn’t rival their last

Monochromatic cute-bomb Alert! PHOTO COURTESY TOM BEARD

Ashley Goetz

Monochromatic cute-bomb Alert! PHOTO COURTESY TOM BEARD

The Horrors ALBUM: Primary Colours LABEL: XL The Kills with the Horrors and Magic Wands WHEN: May 11, 8 p.m. WHERE: The Main Room at First Avenue TICKETS: $12-$14 18+ www.first-avenue.com In this post-post everything period ushered in by the digital era, many bands suffering from an over-saturation of influences become bogged down by their own identity crises. Thankfully, this is not totally the case with U.K. garage rock hodgepodge The Horrors. Or is it? Their new album âÄúPrimary Colours,âÄù due out on May 5, with a digital drop date of April 21, mix garage, surf rock and punk tendencies with electro and even new wave. The results? Mixed. The Horrors staggered onto the U.K. indie scene in 2007 with their debut album âÄúStrange House,âÄù an unadulterated rock and roll explosion, equal parts authentic and revivalist in sound. The album recalls garage and punk predecessors ranging from bands like the 13th Floor Elevators to U.K. legends like The Sex Pistols. The band seems to rejoice in acknowledging their influences; the opening track on âÄúStrange House,âÄù is a cover of ScreaminâÄô Lord SutchâÄôs âÄúJack the Ripper,âÄù and another song is titled âÄúSheena is a Parasite,âÄù an obvious reference to The RamonesâÄô classic âÄúSheena is a Punk Rocker.âÄù The HorrorsâÄô sound on âÄúStrange House,âÄù carried by blazing, blown-out lo-fi guitar, synth and organ mixed with the Johnny rotten-esque vocals of Faris Badwan, isnâÄôt anything new. Instead, itâÄôs the best parts of the old, redone right and with an authentic and refreshing amount of energy. âÄúPrimary ColoursâÄù seems to be a nod to a different era and influence of The Horrors: post punk and new wave. The fact that the band holds an affinity for Joy Division is obvious through their frequent live covers of the U.K. legends , but âÄúPrimary ColoursâÄù seems to bleed with borderline idolatry for the band and their often imitated motif. âÄúPrimary Colours,âÄù produced by PortisheadâÄôs Geoff Barrows, is largely lethargic and slowed down in comparison to âÄúStrange House.âÄù Where the first album seemed to shake with fervor, the second sways with nihilistic nonchalance. To say that The Horrors have made an error in choosing this sophomore path isnâÄôt entirely true. The album contains shining successes, one of them being their melodically epic single âÄúSea Within a Sea,âÄù which anchors the record and clocks in just shy of eight minutes. Yet tracks like âÄúNew Ice AgeâÄù or the excruciatingly lagging seven-minute âÄúI Only Think of YouâÄù come up absent of their original appeal. The problem with âÄúPrimary ColoursâÄù is that it lacks many of the elements that made âÄúStrange HouseâÄù great, replacing them with familiar territory already reinvented by bands like Interpol or, unfortunately, The Killers. The guitar is more polished, the drums more elaborate and the vocals more drawn out. Yet something is missing: the gritty rock. And in many ways, that is the most crucial element. The Horrors are a good band trying to be a great one, but maybe they should have stuck with what worked: simple, fast-paced rock âÄônâÄô roll. 2.5 of 5 stars