Listen to: The Horrors, Primary Colours.

I used to avidly read the NME. I was an indie kid. You know the type. A skinny, pale, big haired, irritating arty sort who sneered at anything deemed to be pop music. I’ve mellowed and widened with age but sometimes still buy the NME for old times’ sake even though it now has more photos and less text than New Idea. So, when NME anointed Primary Colours by The Horrors their album of 2009 I decided to give it a spin. Which is tricky to do when you’re listening to music streaming online.

There was a time, pre-internet, when you had to buy the albums music magazines claimed were genius without hearing them first. This inevitably led, more often than not, to disappointment as money was wasted on unlistenable dirge you’d pretend to like to be in with the in crowd. Ah, the wonders of youth.

So, despite previous NME recommendation setbacks, I decided to listen without prejudice. My prejudice in this instance being the fact that The Horrors’ lead singer Faris Badwan looks like the bastard lovechild of actors Nicolas Cage and Adrien Brody. You know the type. A skinny, pale, big haired, irritating arty sort. I’m glad I did. While The Horrors, are not “the flamboyant future of British rock” the Big Day Out promoters recently claimed, they have made a great album. Sometimes, some of the hype is right.

Kicking off with “Mirror’s Image”, an effective showcase for the album’s core strength of catchy left field pop/rock married to a psychedelic sheen, and ending with the eight-minute heady trip of Sea Within A Sea, Primary Colours’ 11 songs sparkle and shine thanks in no small part to a great production job by Portishead’s sonic guru Geoff Barrows. Highlights include the fun-house chime buzz of Who Can Say, poppy title track Primary Colours, and that closing epic Sea Within A Sea never overstays its welcome no matter how often it’s played.

Give Primary Colours a chance to soundtrack your night tonight. You can try before you buy by listening for free here.

The Horrors are currently doing Australia’s sold-out Big Day Out gigs til January 31, just in case you want to try and beg, borrow or steal to catch them live.