The Horrors–Sea Within A Sea

After posting yesterday’s cover, it occurred to me, much to my surprise, that I have not yet written about The Horrors.  They are one of the relatively few bands that have managed to forge a completely new path for themselves after being pigeonholed at the beginning of their career, much like Radiohead managed with The Bends.  And as with most artists who make such a transition, the moment at which they won over the hearts and minds of critics is easy to pinpoint.  The band’s debut album, Strange House, was a cartoonish goth-punk affair that leaned heavily on Edward Gorey, Screaming Lord Sutch and Joe Meek (even after three respectable albums, it’s hard to find a band picture that isn’t a tad laughable).  It was entertaining, but seemingly left them nowhere to go.  Enter Sea Within A Sea.  The band smartly released the sprawling track in anticipation of their album Primary Colors, setting a wholly new tone and winning the awe of just about everyone that heard it.  The swirling, psychedelic-inspired track earned every second of its almost eight minute runtime.  It’s a methodical build that featured Faris Badwan’s newly dreamy, distant vocal stylings and a smartly managed cacophony of fresh sounds.  Elegiac without being mopey, the strobing tune rises and falls and grows again until settling into a crystalline momentum that takes it through the end.  The band pushes without rushing, forcing the listener’s patience, but never trying it.  The confidence they have found is especially impressive, allowing them to craft a luminous and endlessly compelling track that set the tone for the rest of their careers.

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