Even if you don’t like The Horrors, you still have to give them a lot of credit. After all, they keep surprising everyone with each new release, as their albums are completely distinct and individual pieces of work, each one with a very defined concept of sound that is radically different from what precedes/follows it. But when looking even closer, one can see how coherent they’re actually being: since their debut in 2007 with Strange House, they’ve been evolving in a very specific direction, which could tackily be described as “walking towards the light”. Fact is, from the darker sounds of their debut, and passing through the psychedelic monument that was 2009’s Primary Colours, Faris Badwan and mates have been turning their heads up… or as the title of this new release suggests, they’re now aiming at the sky.
And if, at first listen, they seem to emulate a genre with a name that says the contrary (“shoegazing”), don’t let that impression mislead you. Yes, some songs on Skying do sound a lot like My Bloody Valentine, but the biggest influence in here is actually a whole decade of unlimited – and sometimes dubious – source of inspiration: the 1980’s. And we’re not talking about the riotous guitars of Sonic Youth as well, although they can actually be heard in Endless Blue; instead, what we have in mind are those stadium-rock bands that aimed to bring people together and whose epitome were the Simple Minds, mostly due to the huge amount of keyboards that are heard everywhere in Skying. This use of keyboards is actually one of the most prominent elements in here, used to reach that goal of taking everything to new ecstatic heights, while also broadening their sound and opening it to the world.
So yes, they are distancing themselves from the closed goth imaginary that used to define them, but some things stay intact… and in these specific cases, those are good news. From the ice-cold and fuzzed up atmosphere that is felt in most songs, to Faris intense delivery, somewhere between the paranoid and the dolent, there are still elements reminding us that these are, indeed, The Horrors. A band which, otherwise, is constantly redefining its identity and finding new paths in its constant evolution. (7,5/10)