“Fun and danceable” aren’t adjectives you could have easily attributed to previous records from The Horrors, but that’s how the English indie quintet are pitching their fourth studio record, Luminous. Truth be told, that description isn’t too far from the mark at all. Where the band’s previous efforts have been tinged with a particular brand of darkness that has perhaps unfairly earned them an unshakeable ‘goth’ label, Luminous is exactly as it says on the tin –full of a radiant and shimmering light.
What’s immediately obvious is the band’s previous flirtations with progressive song structure have blossomed into a full-blown romance. Opening track, ‘Chasing Shadows’ begins with an extended overture of outer-world tics, sighs, increasingly layered synths and even the odd bongo drum. We’re a full four minutes in before we hear the familiar strains of vocalist, Faris Badwan. This initial collision of two worlds, the new sound meeting the old voice is quite a thrill and it’s worth highlighting here that Badwan’s vocals are wonderfully mixed throughout the album. Swinging effortlessly from forefront to background - a friendly narrator guiding us through a cosmic journey.
The madchester sound also features heavily throughout Luminous . Both Jagwar Ma and Tame Impala are heavily referenced on tracks like the bouncy ‘So Now You Know’ and the tripped out ‘Jealous Sun’. Where Luminous’ shine dulls a little is in the oft-repeated ‘build and release’ pattern which risks feeling formulaic towards the end of the record. But while this may limit its longevity, it can’t take away from how gorgeous an album this is. Or indeed it’s fun and danceablity.