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The Music Mix Recommends: U.K. dark-rock quintet The Horrors, now all prettied up

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The Horrors

A curious thing has happened to The Horrors. The onetime goth-shoegaze outfit just released 10 surprisingly lovely new tracks from their upcoming album Skying online—and suddenly, they sound anything but horrifying.

The uplifting Skying, slated for a U.S. release on Aug. 9, marks a serious departure from their previous two albums, 2007’s Strange House and 2009’s Primary Colours.

Gone are the eyeliner-heavy zombie gazes and song titles like “Death At The Chapel” and “Jack The Ripper,” replaced by stylish, mesmerizing janglers like “You Said” and “Changing the Rain.” Even the cover art looks like it could have been lifted from The Tree of Life. (That’s not to say, however, that Skying lacks edge: The clean-cut, driving “Moving Further Away” and the gritty pulse of “Monica Gems” counterbalance the album’s mellower jams.)

The Horrors’ lush, throbbing “Still Life,” whose video just debuted on the band’s website, both sounds and looks like the funky stepchild of a Joshua Tree-era U2 single—a sweeping anthem with a thumping bass line and a feel-good chorus (not to mention that the grainy neon video throws back to 1987’s “With Or Without You” ).

“Slow down, give it time/Still life, you know I’m listening,” throaty vocalist Faris Badwan croons. After several spins of Skying, Faris, you know we’re listening too.

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