Sunday, October 5

The Horrors - 'Shadazz'.

'The world hasn't seen them for a couple of years...' - it's the introduction to the live Suicide B-side rather than The Horrors' offering, but it applies equally to the latest single from everyone's favourite NME cover stars of 2006. After a long wait, and with surprisingly little fanfare, The Horrors have released their latest single. It's the first in a series of EPs by various artists on the Blast First Petite label paying tribute to Suicide, the New York no-wave originators whose Alan Vega apparently turns 70 this year. Future releases are due to feature Suicide contemporary Lydia Lunch, Bruce Springsteen (who'd have thought?), Liars, Effi Briest, and S.C.U.M (with their cover of 'Wild in Blue'), but this, the first, will be the most exciting to those who've been waiting with bated breath to find out what The Horrors sound like after a year spent immersing themselves in experimental electronics.

The clues were all there: the collaborations with S.C.U.M and Ulterior, the Set Up Club, Spider and the Flies... The 'Shadazz' cover sounds a lot more like the esoteric instrumental piece 'Gil Sleeping' than any other track on their Strange House debut. A dub bass groove and solid drumbeat form a spine for some barely-there distorted slide guitar and a shower of flickering synthesizer noises, but overall this is firm Suicide territory: dark and eerily catchy, but above all as minimal as possible. Faris Badwan's screaming days are over: the frontman is cool and snarling, taking an uncanny angle on Alan Vega's restrained ferocity while firmly retaining his own voice. Whether they'll keep that up when we hear their own work is another matter, but for now there are more shrieks from Vega on the B-side (unreleased Suicide track 'Radiation') than on Badwan's 'Shadazz' vocal line.

A special mention is due for Nik Void's 'Rocket U.S.A.' cover, the second B-side track, which combines laconic Flying Lizards vocals with a great pulsing synth line and provides a good reminder of Suicide's influence on every single dance act since the late seventies, but all in all that and 'Radiation' are just further incentives to find out for yourself what The Horrors are up to, and to get a taster of their new sound (due in album form in the new year). They're in the process of casting off their immature garage rock sound and looking forward to new territory: 'Count In Fives' this isn't, but that can only be a good thing at this stage.

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