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The Horrors are an English band formed in Southend-on-Sea in 2005, consisting of lead vocalist Faris Badwan, guitarist Joshua Hayward, keyboardist and synthesiser player Tom Cowan, bassist Rhys Webb and drummer and percussionist Joe Spurgeon. Their music has been classified as garage rock, gothic rock, shoegazing and post-punk revival.
The band have released three studio albums: Strange House (2007), Primary Colours (2009) and Skying (2011), all of which charted within the UK Top 40. A fourth studio album is expected to be released in early 2014.
In the early 2000s, The Horrors coalesced around interests in obscure vinyl and DJing. During trips to London and on the Southend circuit, Rhys Webb met Faris Badwan and Tom Cowan through their mutual interest in 1960s garage rock and new wave as well as post-punk bands such as The Birthday Party and Bauhaus.
In 2005 the three formed a band with Joshua Hayward and Joe Spurgeon. The band was centred around Junkclub, an underground club founded by Webb and Oliver Abbott. Their first rehearsal consisted of two covers: The Sonics' "The Witch" and Screaming Lord Sutch's "Jack the Ripper" (interpreted in the tradition of previous garage covers such as those by The Fuzztones, One-Way Streets and The Gruesomes). The latter rendition was rerecorded as the opening track of their debut album. The Horrors made their first live performance at The Spread Eagle on Kingsland Road in London on 16 August 2005.
The Horrors drew the attention of critics and the public with their debut single "Sheena Is a Parasite". Their second release, "Death at the Chapel", a high-profile show at London's 100 Club in July 2006, and an appearance on the cover of the NME that August, greatly increased their profile. As a result of this exposure, the band played the NME Awards Indie Rock Tour in early 2007 along with Mumm-Ra, The View and The Automatic which helped garner further notoriety.
Strange House (2007–2008)
After releasing their debut album Strange House in March 2007, The Horrors embarked on a world tour to promote it. A slot as a support act for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in the United States in summer 2007 was cancelled because of lack of funds, and the band instead headlined a US tour that June. They made a number of festival appearances throughout 2007, including the Glastonbury Festival, the Carling Weekend (on the Radio 1/NME stage), various Scandinavian festivals, the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan, and Splendour in the Grass in Australia; their setlists throughout that summer included a cover of "No Love Lost" by Joy Division. The Horrors also appeared in the third series of The Mighty Boosh in December as the fictional band "The Black Tubes", and supported the Arctic Monkeys on their short sellout tour of the UK, receiving a mixed reception. The band played an NME Awards show in 2008 with Crystal Castles, Ulterior and These New Puritans, and supported The Sonics on 23 March, their last London show until their appearance at Bethnal Green's Rich Mix on 23 May of the following year. On 18 January 2008, Counting in Fives, a documentary of the band's 2007 tour of the USA, was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival.
Primary Colours (2009–2010)
At the end of 2007, The Horrors announced the forthcoming recording of a new album, which was produced by the band, Craig Silvey, Geoff Barrow of Portishead, and music video director Chris Cunningham. Recording took place in Bath during the summer of 2008. The band were forced to pull out of their planned appearance at the Underage Festival due to recording schedule conflicts. The band signed to XL Recordings after they left Loog Records in 2007. The only release from the band between the "She Is the New Thing" single in June 2007 and the new material in 2009 was a cover of Suicide's "Shadazz", released by Blast First Petite as part of their tribute to Alan Vega in October 2008. A few weeks before the new album's release, a number of songs from the album were leaked. The album's first single, "Sea Within a Sea", was released as a digital download-only single on 17 March 2009. A music video for the song, directed by Douglas Hart (former bassist for The Jesus and Mary Chain), was also posted on the band's website on the same day. The second album, Primary Colours, was officially released on 4 May 2009 to critical acclaim and reached No. 25 on the UK Albums Chart. The single "Who Can Say" was released on 7" vinyl one week later. Primary Colours was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Prize. NME later awarded the album first place in the 50 Best Albums of 2009. After headlining London's Offset Festival and touring for Primary Colours, The Horrors indicated a desire to build their own studio to record at obscure hours.
In April 2010, singer Badwan announced on the band's official forum that The Horrors had already started working on their third album, to be called Skying, and had been in the studio for some months. A track from the album, "Endless Blue", was first unveiled at the Latitude Festival in July 2010, and later performed at Poland's Off Festival and Belgium's Lokerse Feesten in August 2010. In February 2011, after rumours that the album had been delayed, Badwan announced via the official forum that the album would be released in July. The first single, titled "Still Life", premiered on 24 May on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. The full album was made available for streaming from the band's website on 4 July, and officially released on 11 July 2011.
The band were announced to be headlining the Festival Republic Stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals in August 2011, where during their performance, were joined onstage by The Vaccines due to Tom Cowan being older brother to The Vaccines' guitarist Freddie Cowan. Tom Cowan had joined The Vaccines on stage earlier on the same day. They had also been chosen to perform at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror festival curated by ATP and Portishead in September 2011 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
The band joined Florence and The Machine on the UK and Ireland leg of that artist's Ceremonials Tour in March 2012. The band also headlined the "Word Arena" tent of 2012's Latitude Festival.
In December 2012, The Horrors released the remix box set Higher in digital format.
The Horrors headlined the Y Not Festival in Derbyshire on 4 August 2013. and the Truck Festival in Oxfordshire on 19 July 2013.
On 24 February 2014, The Horrors announced that the band's fourth studio album Luminous will be released on 5 May. The record was self-produced and was described as being "fun and danceable". "I See You", "Jealous Sun", "Luminous", and "First Day of Spring" are titles of tracks believed to be included on the album.
Rhys Webb and Tom Cowan have a side project, Spider and The Flies, influenced by BBC Radiophonics Workshop electronica, and have released an EP called Something Clockwork This Way Comes (2009).
Faris Badwan was involved in a project, Lumina, teaming up with ex-Ipso Facto member Cherish Kaya to record a cover of the Black Lips song "I'll Be With You". This recording appeared as a B-side on the Black Lips single "Drugs".
More recently, Badwan formed Cat's Eyes with multi-instrumentalist, composer and soprano vocalist Rachel Zeffira. In early 2011, Cat's Eyes released an EP, Broken Glass, and a full-length, self-titled album.
Members of The Horrors have also played with The Diddlers (a Bo Diddley cover band), Cramped (a Cramps cover band) and Heavy Bunny.
Faris Badwan – lead vocals
Tom Cowan – synthesizer, bass
Joshua Hayward – guitar, piano
Joe Spurgeon – drums and percussion
Rhys Webb – bass, organ
Freddie Cowan – guitar (2005)