The Horrors, minus all that horror.
From the beginning of this millennium, British indie rockers (and wanna-be limeys like The Strokes) have been drawing much of their inspiration from their nation's '78-'92 golden era of alternative music. The Horrors started out by playing off the indie rock canon's finest examples of doom and gloom (Bauhaus, The Damned, The Cure) on their indulgently macabre 2007 debut, Strange House. Since then, however, front man Faris Badwan and company have gradually supplanted their dark, gothic underbelly with a reverence for Jesus and Mary Chain-influenced shoegaze. Skying, the five-piece's third album, finds The Horrors at their most restrained and reaching an unexpected creative peak. Through their highly collaborative writing process, The Horrors have sculpted an expansive, almost schizophrenic sound, fueled by the urge to drape their songs in horns and walls of synthesizer. "I Can See Through You" emerges as this strange brew's most triumphant pop moment, "Still Life" as their best stab at arena rock, and eight-minute closer "Oceans Burning" as a full-fledged post-punk jam sesh that feints toward old-fashioned psychedelia. It's difficult to predict where the Horrors' trip through British rock history may take them next, but Skying's stylish collage hints they're finally zeroing in on their own identity.