Review: The Horrors, HMV Forum, London
As my feet stick to the floor for the umpteenth time I think, I am not for this. Too short for this. My trousers aren't thin enough. I am not thin enough. I am the oldest young guy in the room. Or the youngest old guy. Either way, it's not for me, any more.
Then I am comforted by the sight of Faris Badwan, in white dinner jacket and the thinnest black bow tie in the world. Because I realise he is thinking the same as me.
Oh sure, this is the final, celebratory night in what has - rather against the odds - become a humdinger of a year; an album of 2009 here, a fuck you to Universal there, a near-adoration from those who feared that experimental, bloody-minded pop with clanging guitars was never to return (and, alas, HTRK's appearance suggest that as they're no longer teaching melody in drone rock school, that still could be the case.)
But you sure could have fooled me. And probably Faris too. He clings to his microphone, a fixed point in a sea of tumult. He knows he has power - from the back, the raising of his right arm at a certain angle inspires extra devotion from the pit. And yet, all the while, his head is down, his mein gloomy, undercutting his claims to permanence and grandeur with his froideur.
And this is the contradiction at the heart of The Horrors. They have the angular cheekbones and haircuts of a young Jesus and Mary Chain - but they are cold instead of confrontational. They take the sonic palette of shoegazing and manage to weld it expertly to the tones of Northern Soul. They manage to find hitherto untapped pitches of ecstasy in both, and release them with the force of bombs dropping. But they retain the cool detachment of pilots on simulated training sorties.
The nagging feeling is that this isn't enough, substantial enough, that the disappointments they've both experienced and caused, lead them to know that this moment in the sun is exactly that, a moment; and that they have stepped outside themselves, all the better to savour something that won't return.
So enjoy them while you can. For one fears that when they realise they won't have another year quite like this one, they'll decide this isn't for them any more.