Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Oct 17th 2009 12:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Their image demands that they brood, but there was reason to smile. The last year has been one of rebirth and vindication for the band, particularly in America, where critics who once dismissed the Horrors as over-hyped Cramps impersonators are now effusive supporters.
The turnaround began in April when the group released its sophomore album, 'Primary Colours,' a collection that found the quintet trading the spastic garage rock of its 2007 debut, 'Strange House,' for dreamy and dramatic '80s guitar pop.
Friday night, shaggy-headed singer Faris Badwan may have looked like Joey Ramone's Goth cousin, but he moaned like Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler. Thanks to their melodic synth lines and grand melodies, the Horrors were like something out of an alternate-universe John Hughes movie, one in which Molly Ringwald turns into a zombie and chows down on the brains of Anthony Michael Hall.
The Horrors spent most of the night pretending their first album never happened, demonstrating their songwriting progress as they oozed through the bulk of 'Primary Colours.' Whereas the 'Strange House'-era live shows were, by all accounts, brief and chaotic affairs, the group now favors a more measured kind of intensity, one it's able to maintain for an entire hour.
On the standout "Who Can Say?," one of the prettier songs the Horrors have written, Badwan indulged his love for vintage Phil Spector with a Ronettes-like spoken-word bridge: "And when I told her I didn't love her anymore, she cried."
During the encore, the Horrors reverted back to old habits, switching the keyboard setting to farfisa and blasting through such thorny first-album favorites as "Sheena Is A Parasite" and "Gloves."
The latter ended with Badwan screaming, "I can't take it anymore," a declaration of angst that, however genuine, is likely no longer due to a lack of respect.