Hot on the heels of the release of their fifth record, V, The Horrors return to Dublin, one day removed from the postponement of a Belfast show due to the impact of Storm Ophelia, one of multiple shows that fell victim to the inclement weather across the island on Monday. V has been greeted with a largely positive critical response, borne out by the strength of reaction garnered by lead single ‘Machine’ when aired early in the set.
Cuts from 2009’s Primary Colours stir some of the strongest reactions, with ‘Who Can Say’, ‘Mirror’s Image’ and ‘Sea Within A Sea’ particular standouts; ‘Endless Blue’ providing another noteworthy turn. The Horrors have evolved from the gauche gothic garage of debut LP Strange House through the MBV indebted Primary Colours, mining the likes of Simple Minds through Skying and Luminous to reach this year’s V, occasionally leaning toward a more abrasive sound but more often permitting a pop instinct to take the lead.
As a live presence, they remain visually arresting. Augmented by an array of strobe lighting, focus is split between Faris Badwan on vocals, Josh Hayward flailing on guitar and Rhys Webb perpetually swaying on bass after initially joining Tom Furse on synth for opener ‘Hologram’. Faris apologises mid-set for ‘not turning up as much as we should have’ and though there’s no discernible alteration in volume, there is an undoubted improvement in the sound quality from this point on.
‘Still Life’, from 2011’s Skying inspires a mass singalong, and on returning for an encore, ‘Something To Remember Me By’ proves to be a euphoric closer, calling to mind New Order and more pop oriented than this band have ever sounded. Allowing for some sound gremlins and occasional murkiness in the mix, this is a thoroughly enjoyable show, atmospheric and intense, a band on an ongoing journey of development, a long way from the cartoon characters of their first record.
The Horrors photographed for State by Killian Broderick