By Damian Jones
The Horrors make their mystery comeback, swapping the theatrics of old for the Krautrock of Neu!
Southend goth rockers The Horrors return with an all new stripped down guise
Mystery countdowns are becoming something of an internet hit with indie bands at the minute.
First Radiohead then Bloc Party were guilty of keeping their fans guessing with the ticking time bomb.
Then at midnight last Monday (16 March) Southend goth rockers The Horrors took advantage of the mystery countdown to announce their own second coming.
Flashing up a simple TV test card followed by a frail compere who simply said: "Hello and welcome to a live broadcast from a band who first hit the airwaves in back 2006. The band are The Horrors."
The five-piece projected their new guise in a clip that was more akin to a Secret Machines gig than a Horrors video.
Gone were the theatrical costumes and black eyeliner, ditched for simple black shirts and skinny jeans.
But the biggest surprise of all was perhaps the change in their sound as gloomy strobe lights gave way to a pulsing eight-minute Krautrock anthem.
With the help of Portishead's Geoff Barrow the five-piece have ditched their trademark lo-fi doom rock for synth driven psychedelia.
Primary Colours tracklisting
Who Can Say
Do You Remember
New Ice Age
I Only Think Of You
I Can't Control Myself
Sea Within A Sea
"We've always been interested in bands with sonics," says singer Faris Badwan.
"I love bands like Neu! and Cluster so interesting sonics was always high on our priority list this time.
"Having said that they were just as influential on the last album but they maybe weren't as evident.
"The noise breaks in Sheena Is A Parasite for example could easily be found on a Neu! record."
Recorded in keyboardist Spider Webb's bedroom along with Barrow in Bristol, Badwan is quick to point out it was the band's idea to change direction with their second album Primary Colours and not the Portishead's leader.
"When we first went into the studio with him I had to admit we thought it would be The Horrors plus Portishead," the towering singer confides.
"But actually he was really into what we've done and he just wanted to capture the best possible version of it. So it was all written and arranged by us.
"Despite what people may think," he adds. "He didn't mould us into something he had in his head and the production process wasn't all one way."
Of the new tracks, Three Decades was the song that proved instrumental in shaping the rebirth of The Horrors.
"Three Decades is a really key album track," Badwan explains. "We actually wrote it a couple of years ago but it was the beginning of how we wanted the new record to sound.
"When we first heard that we all knew which direction we wanted to take.
"It's weird how a lot of people expect bands to stay the same when the nature of what they're doing is creative," he continues.
"I guess a lot of bands make the same album four times but I'd never want to do that. You always expect some sort of evolution."
As for their eight-minute comeback single Sea Within Sea, the singer said he was determined to shock their doubters.
The Horrors have ditched their face paint
"For our first single we didn't want to do a traditional three-minute pop song," he says defiantly.
"What we wanted to do was make people immediately aware of the development we'd undergone.
"It's extremely different from our last album and I was determined to move on because it's boring for people to stay in the same place all the time."
The pantomime theatrics which saw Badwan scale huge speaker stacks and play dead in front of his fans during their early live shows is another side of The Horrors he is now keen to lay to rest.
"Half the time I just wanted to find ways of amusing myself," he chuckles.
"Still I can't see us going back to how we used to be. Everything has its place in time."
Sea Within A Sea is available as a free download. Their new album is out on 4 May.