Strange House was an awfully enjoyable debut, big on the eyeliner and silly on the goth-garage growly histrionics, but that was about the size of it – silly yet enjoyable. It’s amazing what a pinch of Geoff Barrow can do. The surly Portisheader has twiddled the knobs, kicked against the pricks and, er, twisted the appendages for The Horrors’ second album Primary Colours and – against any odds you care to chalk up – we’re left with a fantastic record. Still garage rock, still psychedelic, still fronted by a bit of a Brett Anderson, but this time The Horrors are Joy Division with Krautrock propulsion. It can’t all be Barrow because basic songcraft has hepped up a notch – still, credit where it’s due.
‘Who Can Say’ piques the gossip buds with the idea it’s all about frontman Faris Badwan dumping polymath Peaches Geldof. When Faris gets all Shangri-Las in the middle talky bit – “And when I told her I didn’t love her anymore, she cried” – you even feel sorry for Bob’s bonny bunny. All that aside, it’s fuzzy, echoey and seedily real.
We had a talky bit in the car too:
“Are they Horrors?”
“That’s the name of the five of them together, sort of like The Beatles on your t-shirt.”
“Yes, and The Horrors all play instruments on this song. One of them, the second one along in that picture, sings. One plays the guitar, another plays the bass – which is like a guitar with fewer strings – another plays drums and the last one the piano.”
“I’ve got a pink piano.”
“I don’t think The Horrors have a pink piano.”
“No, they have a black one.”
“You’re probably right.”
Better off this way: