The Horrors – Strange House

Every now and again I’ll feature a hard to find album that seems to have been forgotten about. 

Band members

  • Faris Badwan – vocals; formerly known as Faris Rotter.
  • Joshua Hayward – guitar; also known as Joshua Third, formerly Joshua Von Grimm.
  • Tom Cowan – synthesizer (on Primary Colours), bass (on Strange House); formerly known as Tomethy Furse.
  • Rhys Webb – bass (on Primary Colours), organs (on Strange House); formerly known as Spider Webb.
  • Joseph Spurgeon – drums; formerly known as Coffin Joe.
  • Temporary band members
  • Freddie Cowan (Tom’s brother and guitarist with The Vaccines) – guitar; replacing Joshua Hayward for several gigs when he was taking his exams.
Ghoulish dandies clad in jeans so tight they should barely accommodate a skeletal femur, much early discussion of Southend’s The Horrors has revolved around their look, not their music. Pleasing to note, then, that their debut album, Strange House, is actually pretty exceptional. Part sinister Cramps-style gothic rockabilly and part organ-fuelled ’60s psychedelia, delivered at a nervy post-Libertines rattle, you’d be lying if you were to venture these eleven tracks were especially original. But The Horrors can certainly whip up a chilling enough atmosphere, mostly due to the cadaverous bark of frontman Faris Rotter and the humming organ riffs of Spider Webb. Their haywire cover of ‘Jack The Ripper’ by Screaming Lord Such is a deliciously morbid revival, but it’s not the only judicious feat of musical grave-robbing: debut single ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’ draws not just title but breathless brevity from The Ramones’ ‘Sheena Is A Punk Rocker’, while ‘Excellent Choice’ offers up a spoken-word tale with a grisly ending, a la the Velvet Underground’s ‘The Gift’. All in all, it’ll shake your bones. –Louis Pattison

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