I can remember being 15 years old in 1992 and listening to a late night radio show on Sunday nights that played really obscure, underground music from the ’70s and ’80s. It was between midnight and 2am each week that I sat next to my tape deck, with my finger on the “record” button, waiting to discover the music that was too bizarre to be played in the daylight hours. It was during the wee hours of the night that I stumbled across The Smiths, The Bauhaus, The Fall, Siouxie & The Banshees and dozens of bands I didn’t catch the names of but felt inclined to record and listen to again and again.
The Horrors are not from the ’70s or ’80s. Hell, they’re not even from the ’90s. They’re a bunch of gothed-up skinny kids from London from right now, yet listening to their debut Strange House brings me right back to those sleepless, candle-lit nights next to my stereo.
Sounding like The Stooges, The Birthday Party and The Cramps — yet still finding time to show The Doors some love — this young bunch of hooligans should have been born about 20 years earlier. They should have been getting cut up with Sid Vicious, partying with Johnny Thunders and getting naked with Iggy Pop. Unfortunately, most of the fans of these deeply underground sound may be too put off by how closely songs like “Count In Fives” and “Sheena Is A Parasite” (referencing The Ramones’ Sheena, 30 years later) are to deep cuts in their old record collections.
The kickoff to the album is a cover of Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack The Ripper,” a song adapted (and perfected) already by The White Stripes. It’s a bold choice for openers, and while the band may not reach the same plane Jack White achieves, theirs is still an impressive adaptation.
It’d be a mistake to disregard this band as an imitation. I, for one, couldn’t be happier to be blasted back to the past. I was too young to see most of those other bands play live (at least while they were in their prime), I won’t miss the opportunity this time around.
Stolen Transmission: www.stolentransmission.com