Horrible: The Singles and Covers Of 2017 – May to December.
For our previous work on the band – Click Here.
Chicago not always so serious Punks Horrible have dedicated their musical output this year to twenty four singles split down the middle between exploring different avenues of music and covers from here there and everywhere. Above you can find our words on the band’s first four months from January to April so after you’ve acquainted yourself with those, sit down, up the volume, get a beer and sample the weird and wonderful singles from May to this very month of December.
// May //
‘PHDidn’t’ is a song about about not wanting to be a doctor from the point of view of someone who has absolute no urge to follow the dreams of the parental authority. This is something many of us will struggle with often quite hilariously and despite this it makes for quite the track. ‘PHDidn’t’ is witty, well written and energetic via its Garage Rock n’ Roll toned classic Punk filtered abandon and determination to simply not toe the party line.
‘One Time Time’ is a cover of the classic Joe Johnson track from 1979 where the band stick to the format in tribute but with just enough of that added Garage Rock grit on the guitars to stand it out and give this rendition just a little more weight.
// June //
With June the Pop-sensibilities of Horrible are explored further in gritty slow-to-mid Rock n’ Roll inspired by the film Scream in ‘There Must B 2’. The band again display their knack for penning entertaining, fun, not remotely serious songwriting in a manner that despite its obvious fun loving design has been crafted in professional manner and via obvious skill and musicianship.
The classic Pop-Rock of The Kinks is given the Horrible treatment in this June cover and actually marks for one of the best of this eight-month block. The band again bring new life to this dated track but still remain as close as possible to the original penning.
Horrible’s music prior this the year of covers and experimentation always did boast their own take on the now eclectic world of Punk music but with this string of releases it really allows the listener to see where and expand upon where the band credit their roots and explores further their usual subtle hints.
// July //
July despite it’s Summer month affiliation dispenses with the cheery Pop-tones of the previous single by examining the all too familiar state of “ennui” or despair, tedium and confusion. The band quite notable provide a track you’d expect from Field Day era Dag Nasty or perhaps the Post-Punk gems of Joy Division or The Cure with driven layered guitars over Punk rhythms twisted into more progressive contrasting territory .
‘Maya’ is at this stage a yearly highlight and sees the band experimenting further with their use of synths and gloom permeated groove. The band’s proceeding cover of the The B52s ‘Rock Lobster’ hits you with just enough Punk-edge in another otherwise sterling cover. The eerie tone of the guitars is matched and amplified as Horrible employ more driven, notable and prominent melodic guitar leads and a typical Punk-toned bass instead of the sharper tones of The B52s and their weird and wonderful New Wave.
// August //
By now, knowing Horrible are at core a Punk-Rock band you do find yourself yearning for it. You wish for the reckless rhythms and cathartic anthemic tendencies and with ‘Next Time (Next Time)’ you end up with a classic Rock n’ Roll toned Hardcore Punk amalgamation trying its best to bridge Minor Threat, Poison Idea, and most of all the Dead Kennedys as Horrible rage against their own Ground Hog Day and warped time loop.
‘Next Time (Next Time)’ also treads it foot to more melodic Punk music with the guitar work again standing notable throughout in contrast to the similarly notable and well executed multi-vocalist approach and reckless collective thump this track embodies.
In almost complete contrast – with the only likeness being the vintage and Blues-Rock-ridden distortion, Horrible forsake speed for riffs you can never get tired off in a cover of ‘Mississippi Queen’ via Classic Rock legends, Mountain.
// September //
September takes us somewhere else entirely with more Pop-melodies upon more layered Alternative Rock reminiscent of classic Weezer and Surf Rock tendencies in a song suited for that very vocation or at least in view of such. Both a blessing and curse of such a venture is that break in continuity. The band are showing what essentially amounts to their everything and as much as it does provide you with an array of genres, you get efforts such as the previous month completely standing alone no matter how stellar.
But then again, isn’t that the point of it all? Horrible are doing them and you can’t fault that which takes us on to the timeless Britpop of PULP in ‘Do You Remember The First Time?’. Horrible make more use of the guitars as in trend with the previous covers they begin to take tracks less heavy in axe-work and create renditions in the opposite vein.
// October //
With an intro reminiscent of the charged Post-Punk-isms the Dead Kennedys were using as early as Fresh Fruit… and vocals ever-so slightly in-bed with the Misfits, ‘D.I.M. (Do It Myself [RIP#DIY])’ concerns heart break but not via the usual means, instead as a result of the in-party politics of wrestling tag team. This October original despite its unorthodox approach is another highlight.
‘Can’t Stand Losing You’ takes the centre stage for this late year cover with its far more stylistically Punk-Rock rendition of The Police in a ‘[…] cover about Sting being vaguely creepy as usual’.
// November //
‘Haunted’ is completely elsewhere in a manner of weirdness you could attribute to a brief phase of listening to early Electric Six. Fluttering lead strings accompanied by an eerily playful rhythm sections and general late 80’s early 90’s weirdness, ‘Haunted’ is a Pop-song and a good one, its entertaining and it actually makes use of real instruments without an auto-tune in sight as it was probably scared off.
The Country Rock n’ Roll of Thin Lizzy and his ‘Cowboy Song’ is loving in its tribute and near perfect in its rendition in a track on the roster that if you’re aware of Horrible’s previous work, makes a lot of sense to be included.
// December //
Horrible seemingly save the best until last in regard to their final original of the year with ‘Ominous Nominous’. Imagine mid-to-fast tempo Skate Punk/melodic Punk esque guitar-lines that have spent some serious time in bed with the Dead Kennedys and their Post-Punk filtered Hardcore Punk in a song about the terrifying nature of sleep paralysis. ‘Ominous Nominous’ is scrappy, yet precise, incoherent yet all together and witty despite its serious focus.
Horrible may well be honouring their favourite tracks and influences but are also arguably lending us a few points to ponder on future original material and you can’t fault that.
Having grown up in the UK when I did, the timeless ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ via a band that are far better than their Classic Rock visage would suggest, was a staple track and to this day will send a pub, bar or a club floor into sheer ecstatic frenzy. Horrible may not hit the high-noted vocals of Justin Hawkins quite as well as in the original but I must say I am no less than impressed and with those subtle differences on some of the lead guitar parts the band do the song and The Darkness justice.
Such a venture is ambitious, but it’s not Horrible or is it? I’m confused…
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