It is rare that one can follow a band or artist from the true start of their career up until they reach worldwide appeal. Many of the bands I love were making music long before I became interested and many before I was born. But one band that stands out from this is The Horrors.
The Horrors are a British rock band that has taken off in the last few years. This band is my own best example of following something since the beginning. Thanks to the internet, namely Myspace at the time, I began to listen to some demos from the band in 2006, before their initial EP (The Horrors EP) was released. Catching on to their crazy garage-rock sound, and even more their crazy look, I became a fan. I was still in high school at the time and their rebellious nature and proximity to my own age made me oddly relate to them, or want to have the freedom of expression they did (or maybe it was the confidence in their quirkiness).
Quickly enough the band began to become more popular, appearing in several magazines as a band to watch. I was lucky to see them during one of their first U.S. tours in early 2007 at a show in Boston with only a few dozen others. Their set was a mere 20-minutes full of loud instruments, indecipherable vocals, and a singer who was often violent with the crowd. A good show, of course.
Since then they have grown, mostly overseas, and evolved into something much bigger and better. Their first record, 2007’s Strange House is an auditory assault. It is a loud, garage-rock record with a fast tempo and often ghoulish lyrics. Since their sound fit their style this was no big surprise.
The big surprise was the 2009 release of Primary Colours. The record is a complete departure. Instead of feeling battered by the music you feel smothered. It is other-wordly and beautiful. Their sound channeled My Bloody Valentine rather than The Cramps or Gruseomes. Who knew the wild band of 2006 could turn into a band that created artistic, unique, even emotive music?
This was further cemented with the release of Skying last year, one of the best records of the year by far. The record (self-produced by the way) is beautiful and colorful. The band embraces their shoegaze sound while incorporating their love of psychedelia. Truly an evolution.
When I saw them again this past April their onstage demeanor had completely changed. They were no longer jumping into the crowd and starting fights, or smashing ceramic busts of Elvis (look that one up). Instead they were focused on the music, almost wanting to distance themselves from their first record (they continue to not play any tracks off Strange House live).
It is fascinating to me to have seen them transform from the very beginning, when very few really cared. Unlike many bands who become more and more mainstream I feel that they have actually done the opposite. Their first record was what everyone expected them to make but the second and third, pure artistic evolution.
Luckily theirs is a story that has not yet ended. I am excited to see what they will evolve into next. A truly great band is always evolving.