The Horrors – Koko London – 29th October 2017

Wearing their influences on their sleeve, The Horrors capped off their UK tour in fascinating style as their dynamic stage presence and fondness for dance, post-punk, shoegaze and krautrock all amalgamated into a stupendous showing.

It’s been ten years since their debut and who would have thought they’d still be relevant? Over the course of their five albums they’ve gone on a progressive, thought-provoking journey, with the previous four records all represented during the 90-minute set. Primary Colours’ shoegaze inclinations, Skying’s psych-rock and Luminous’ dream-pop all added to the overall spectacle. However, it was the new V tracks which turned out to be the highlights of the night, with the five-piece now at the peak of their ability and exhibiting a sense of sonic exploration and melody never seen before in what is a tantalising creative vision that has been fully realised.

‘Hologram’ paved the way for the expansive set that followed and the menacing opener built into a pulsating framework of churning synths and pounding drums as well as a piercing guitar riff: “Are we hologram? /Are we vision?” cried Faris Badwan. ‘Machine’, meanwhile, is even more industrial and bombastic when played live, with the electronic drums and churning synthetics reverberating around Camden. The Tom Furse-led ‘In and Out of Sight’ was another highlight that transcends Hacienda neo-psych under the backdrop of a bass-driven framework.

The slow burning ‘Endless Blue’ has always been a live favourite, with the woozy blowout morphing into a garage-driven post-punk banger. ‘Still Life’ is perhaps their most commercial song though, and the anthemic number led to a mass of hands aloft in the air, with “doo doo doo” turning the audience into a human keyboard: “When you wake up/You will find me,” echoed through the room.

With Halloween around the corner, the five Londoners then came out in white boiler suits for the encore to perform new track ‘Ghost’, which wouldn’t be out of place on the end credits of a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. V and set closer ‘Something To Remember Me By’ then channelled dance, trance and 80s pop in a New Order-esque song that could even rival the earlier krautrock stomper of ‘Sea Within A Sea’ to the title of The Horrors’ greatest composition.

The crowd pleasing hook and cathartic ending is their most accessible, glistening invention yet and climaxed what was a brilliant gig from a band who have now become one of the UK’s most treasured. For a band that shed their musical skin so often, they appear to be finally reaching the peak of their powers.

Paul Hill

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