The Horrors-Strange House.

11 02 2012

I’ve written about Primary Colours and Skying, but never Strange House. Obviously because I started this (whatever it is) just under a year after The Horrors debut LP came out. I remember the day I bought it so clearly. There are a few records I am like this with.

The album came out in March 2007, and I was a few months into my first year of University. I loved The Horrors since the start. That aggressive, post-punk, garage rock feel to their music drew me in instantly. I fell in love with them when I first heard Sheena Is A Parasite. The video also blew me away. I just loved how different everything sounded. I mean, sure you could hear what influenced them0 but they were (and still are) NOTHING like what was around. I’ve always loved the Ramones, The Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine from an extremely young age (my uncle’s influence on me) and to hear a band that were my age making music like this; it was just a great comfort. Knowing I wasn’t the only one of my age listening to this stuff. It made me connect with The Horrors even more.

It does make me sad that they no longer play anything off this record anymorem but I do understand why they don’t in a way. However, I would’ve loved to have seen them live when they were getting started. I think Faris covering an audience in black paint is my generation’s version of Iggy and the peanut butter incident. Since 2006 I have been trying (and failing) to see The Horrors live. People bailing out was the main issue, as well as me being broke. HOWEVER, they’re supporting Florence on her UK tour in a few weeks. I just hope their music isn’t lost on the crowd. And yes, I am going. I think I am more excited about seeing The Horrors than Florence- I’ll have seen her 5 times, but it means more to see The Horrors in a way because I’ve waited so long.

Faris’ vocals on Strange House were quite “in your face” and would probably cause a vulnerable person’s ears to bleed. Personally, I loved them. I love his voice. I find it to be highly distinctive; he makes you want to listen and treasure every single word he is singing. Whether it’s the shouting on Sheena or the calming sounds of I Only Think Of You (second record.) He just lures you in.

I’ll always hold this record very dear to me, as it reminds me of my first year of Universirty. I remember skipping a lecture that Monday of the release just to go buy Strange House. Am I proud of doing this? Of course I am. It does annoy me a lot that people are only just now getting themselves familiar with The Horrors. Yes, Still Life is a good song- but you need..you HAVE to go back to the very very start of The Horrors to really appreciate what they do now, and see how they’ve gornw. Many critics and the general  public at the time of Strange House, did shun them because of how they dressed and how big their hair was. It wasn’t an image it was just how they were. However, how they dressed really did fit in with the sound and feel of Strange House. I loved the whole look they had going on. If I was male, I probably would’ve copied the look to be honest.

As a debut record, you really cannot find any fault with Strange House. If you can, then you’re not a fan of The Horrors. There is more to them than just wearing black clothes. There is more to them than Still Life. This band are one of the best band’s that the UK has produced in a hell of a long time. What I love about this debut record is, althought it does posses a Garage Rock feel to it- it also has essence of Punk scattered through. You know full well that they did what they wanted with this record (and also with Primary Colours and Skying.) They aren’t a band that should be told what to do, free creative regin is a must for bands like The Horrors. Bands that stay true to their art. There aren’t many bands around now that do this. You can find it easily in the music of The Kills, Warpaint, The XX, Zola Jesus and a few others. I love Strange House because it is a frightening record. Faris’ screaming will scare you bloody shitless- that’s perfect. That is why I fell in love with them when I first heard them.

The record opens with a bloody marvellous cover of Screaming Lord Sutch’s Jack The Ripper. If you’re not familiar with him, get familiar with him. If you love music that is on a different level of weird and will cause mini heart attacks with how insane it is- listen to Screaming Lord Sutch. My personal favourite track off the record is She Is The New Thing. That will always be one of my favourite tracks by the band. I also adore Little Victories. I think that was the song I first played over and over when I got the record. Excellent Choice (either version) is just stunning. The monologue is greeted with Faris yelling in the background. It works, it works so bloody well. I respect that they never play any of these songs live now; but I can’t help but want to witness everyone going mental to Sheena Is A Parasite or Death At The Chapel.

I still find myself watching clips of the band from 2006/2007/2008 playing material from Strange House and just being in awe of every movement from each band member. The way Joe beats the shit out the drums, the way Tom just looks so fucking cool playing the bass oblivious to the chaos on stage and in the crowd. The way Josh throws himself about playing the guitar and making the most incredible sounds. The way Rhys thrashes the organ and moves like a madman. The way Faris screams every single word and stalks the stage like a lucid panther, picking up scattered objects from the crowd and on stage. It is all so fucking wonderful, and it is music like this that makes my heart race and mind explode.

I mean tracks like Gil Sleeping, A Train Roars, Thunderclaps- they are eerie tracks that will posses your mind. The way Gloves deals with an obsession of collecting Gloves. Count In Fives deals with Faris’ habit of counting in fives when he was younger- it is all so fucking magnificent and brutal. You may be quick to judge the songs as screaming bollocks, and for that I wish to lamp you one. Read the lyrics, and you will see just how out of this world The Horrors were then, and still are now.

Most of you may claim Skying as THE ultimate album by The Horrors, and the band probably do too. But, it was Strange House that made me give my heart and mind and ears over to The Horrors. It has fuzzy and psychotic sounds for those who enjoy the weird and dark side of life. It’s the perfect debut record, and when I first heard it I just knew that anything and everything The Horrors would come to do would amaze me and be a huge part of my life. I cannot imagine my life without The Horrors and my record collection without their music. They are a band that you can be proud to be a fan of, and they leave you want more every single time. Just waiting for a new sound that blow your mind and get you falling in love with them all over again.

When I left for Uni in 2006, my auntie and uncle gave me a I AM A HORROR t-shirt and a badge of The Horrors as a leaving present. I still wear them with such pride.


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2 responses

12 02 2012
thepathweshare

i loved this post! while primary colours is my favourite album of theirs (and of all time, actually), i loved and still love strange house an incredible amount. i’ve seen the horrors live twice now but never during the early days, and i agree that it would have been amazing to see them perform strange house. also i love your description of faris “stalk[ing] the stage like a lucid panther”, great analogy!

12 02 2012
Olivia

It’s such an incredible album. I just wish it got the same recognition as Primary Colours and Skying. All their records are just perfect. You’re so lucky to have seen them! I’ve been trying for the past 6 years..BUT! I’m seeing them support Florence in a couple of weeks. I cannot wait =) x

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