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The Horrors: Skying 

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The Horrors' jump between their debut and Primary Colours was truly one of the incredible reinventions of the past decade. How was it that a bunch of horror-punks in comically skinny black jeans managed to turn into respectable musicians seemingly overnight? If Skying, their third release and second for XL, lacks that previous shock value, it certainly affirms the Horrors as no gimmick, and solidifies them as one of the UK's most interesting current acts. That isn't to say that there is no further transformation at play here. Choosing to put aside Colours' shoe gaze-steeped krautrock, Skying opts for a serious '80s fixation, with Tears for Fears and Psychedelic Furs joining the Jesus and Mary Chain as the band's most obvious influences. It's the Horrors' most overtly pop record to date and their strongest batch of songs. "I Can See Through You" and opener "Changing the Rain" boast the kind of immaculately massive production that would make Phil Spector swoon, while lead single "Still Life" sees singer Faris Badwan turn in his finest melody yet. While Skying does occasionally seem a bit too content to drift along in its own dreamy haze, no doubt the Horrors have come up with another welcome surprise.

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