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Strange House

They’re following a blueprint set by The Cramps and the only real difference between them and Dublin underground band The Things is their proximity to A&R men. But woah, do they know how to create an atmosphere.

Rating: 7 / 10

Shilpa Ganatra, 15 Mar 2007



“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters,” quoth the exalted Ursula K. LeGuin. Indeed, the current fixation with real life, Pop Idol-style stories tells us of a culture where tales of triumph over adversity are marvelled, and conversely those who are handed it on a plate don’t merit their meal. In this case, The Horrors sashaying around in graveyard chic on the cover of the NME even before they’ve had a hit to be called a one hit wonder, is the hippest suicide note in history. After that introduction, the Southend troupe were safely filed away in the ‘style over substance’ box, because of course you can’t hear haircuts on record.

So get this: Strange House is actually an intriguingly intelligent debut. Who’d have thunk it?

Let’s not get too overexcited though: they’re still following a blueprint set by The Cramps and the only real difference between them and Dublin underground band The Things is their proximity to A&R men. But woah, do they know how to create an atmosphere.

Far from just overusing Lurch’s organ, they employ all the resources available to them to provide the perfect soundtrack for Shaun Of The Dead (a little too late, admittedly). The extras in Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video are re-exhumed to provide the backing vocals on ‘Thunderclaps’, and the innovative song structure of ‘Excellent Choice’ and distinctive guitar throughout successfully fills out their sound.

Yet not afraid to stray from a formula of spooky = good, there’s elements of modern-day Britpop on ‘She Is The New Thing’, and ‘Gil Sleeping’ is a mood-changing instrumental that provides a welcome change of pace. It’s not enough to merit a stamp of longevity, but if you’re planning any Hallowe’en parties in the near future…
Rating: 7 / 10

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