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Boomkat Product Review:
After the tedious and oddly sterile garage rock parody that was 2007's Strange House, no one could have reasonably expected The Horrors to return with one of the most sonically compelling rock records of the year. Having previously merely looked like a great band, now The Horrors actually are one. From the detuned hi-fi tape warble of 'Mirror's Image' you're suddenly plunged into a complex, dark - and above all intelligent - spin on modern guitar-driven music. While the My Bloody Valentine references are embedded in the album's overall soundscape (how many times per week in 2009 have we had to make an acknowledgement like that in record reviews?) this steers well clear of pastiche, only grappling with the hazy, destabilised sound world of Kevin Shields in the same way that Boards Of Canada might be said to. Many of the songs on Primary Colours actually seem to stem from the same ghoulish source material rifled through for Strange House, with the frosty Bauhaus-isms and angular Birthday Party-style delivery by no means extinguished. Further contributing to the band's sonic arsenal are the Phil Spector/Joe Meek appropriations of 'Who Can Say', harking back to the '60s pop nuggets that seemed to seep through the band's earlier recordings, but with Primary Colours The Horrors feel every bit as connected to the future as to the past - heck, it wouldn't be out of turn to start calling them a British equivalent of Deerhunter. While it'd be all too easy to attribute The Horrors' newfound creative success to the helping hand of Portishead's Geoff Barrow (who oversees the project, with further production work from Chris Cunningham here and there) that'd be doing the band a great injustice. The songs and the overall musical growth on show here is very much the band's own doing, with only a few key touches in the engineering department revealing themselves to be obviously attributable to Barrow - one of which arrives halfway through the epic motorik closer 'Sea Within A Sea', whose sublime melodic denouement is assisted by strobing vintage synths culled directly from Portishead's 'The Rip'. Such embellishments assist but don't define the album, and Primary Colours resounds as a considerable achievement for a band who've made huge strides in the past two years. It might well turn out to be one of the best releases of the year.