Review: New Horror - "Fruitless Search"

New Horror - Fruitless Search
(2016 Soft Verse)

Despite their name, Newcastle-based shoegaze trio New Horror are aurally entrenched in the past, resurrecting the Manchester melancholia of The Smiths and bundling it up in a noise pop parka of distortion borrowed from The Jesus and Mary Chain. Fruitless Effort, the title of their debut EP, is another misnomer - the record is a bumper crop of Spectorian haze, a tinnitus-inducing survey course in the trademarks of early 80s post-punk. 

"Like A Child" kicks things off, its sandpaper chords leading into a trebly loop of Thatcher-era motorik percussion metronomically performed by a drum machine. Detecting Lewis Thompson's theatrical delivery buried beneath sheets of industrial sound is like recognizing a close friend's voice in the midst of a crowd. It's not often intelligible, but it is quite familiar - a buttery post-punk croon that flirts with Morrissey-impersonation on sludge-addled slow dance "In the Night" "Everything Feels Like a Stab in the Heart" waxes gothic, carving a solid rockabilly tune into its monolithic surface while "White Walls" explores the comfier end of the darkwave spectrum inhabited by The Cure, weaving a sitar-like instrumental in the vein of the soundtrack to Studio Ghibli's Whisper of the Heart. Though it may dabble in arid textures and inclement atmospherics, Fruitless Search is anything but.