Critics have complained that the Horrors looks too emo, doesn’t produce enough of the idealized big venue Brit-rock sound or lacks top-notch lyrics, but last night, the band showed the audience at Music Hall Of Williamsburg that it’s still serious about composing post-punk rock, god dammit. The band’s skinny jeans and bleak facial expressions screamed of a sunless U.K. upbringing, yet, unanticipated, the instrumentals screamed back just as loudly. The set’s opener, “Changing The Rain” from Skying, showcased Faris Badwan’s harrowing vocals and stage presence; one leg up, two hands on the mic and a delivery that bashed the lyrics, “Gold is colder than ice/More is more than you can take/Open your eyes.”
Psychedelic “I Can See You” had Badwan shaking the mic like a rag doll while he sang, “Some people see you/To me you’re just see-through.” Rhys Webb, engulfed in his paisley button down, sneered the bass into Tom Furse’s shrieking synth layers. Joshua Third, who thankfully ditched the sky-high absurdity he called hair, wound his guitar into spaced-out riffs that bustled in “Scarlet Fields” off of Primary Colours.
The polite Brits said thanks and, “We love playing Brooklyn,” after nearly every song, and they ended the night with a three-track encore. Joe Spurgeon ferociously drummed into “Mirror’s Image” combating Webb’s manic fingering as Third ground out his riffs. After “Three Decades,” they finished with “Moving Further Away” as Badwan and Third taunted the amp, holding the mic and guitar up to it to finish off the night with a wave of distortion.