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Primary Colours (The Horrors album)

Primary Colours is the second studio album by English rock band the Horrors. It was released in the US on 21 April 2009, and in the UK on 4 May 2009 by XL Recordings.

Primary Colours
Studio album by
Released21 April 2009
The Horrors chronology
Strange House
Primary Colours
Singles from Primary Colours
  1. "Sea Within a Sea"
    Released: 17 March 2009
  2. "Who Can Say"
    Released: 11 May 2009
  3. "Mirror's Image"
    Released: 14 August 2009
  4. "Whole New Way"
    Released: 4 October 2009


The album was produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead, Craig Silvey and music video director Chris Cunningham. Recording took place in Bath during the summer of 2008. The band signed to XL Recordings after they left Loog Records in 2007. Regarding their time in the studio, band member Rhys "Spider" Webb commented: "We had such an amazing time working on it, writing it and getting lost in it... we'd wander into the studio, and then never want to leave".[1] Webb and Tom Cowan, who had joined the band as keyboardist and bass guitarist respectively, switched instruments from this album onwards.

Prior to the album's release, the band released a cover of Suicide's "Shadazz" on a split single released by Blast First Petite as part of their tribute to Alan Vega in October 2008. On 17 March 2009, the eight-minute music video for "Sea Within a Sea", directed by former Jesus and Mary Chain bassist Douglas Hart, was posted on the band's website. The song was released as a digital download-only single, and full details of Primary Colours also surfaced.

In a preview article, music journalist Mike Diver commented that the album was "set to be one of the year's best" and that it was "wholly worth all the hype that's attracted to its unexpected brilliance."[2]


Primary Colours was released by XL in the US on 21 April 2009, and in the UK on 4 May 2009. The album charted on the UK Albums Chart at No. 25.[3]

Following the album's release, the single "Who Can Say" was released on 7" vinyl.[4]

In 2009, it was awarded a silver certification from the Independent Music Companies Association, which indicated sales of at least 30,000 copies throughout Europe. [5]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [7]
The A.V. ClubB+[8]
The Daily Telegraph     [9]
The Guardian     [10]
Mojo     [11]
Q     [14]
Rolling Stone     [15]

According to review aggregator website Metacritic, the record was met with "universal critical acclaim", receiving a normalised score of 82% based on 19 reviews.[6]

On 21 July 2009, the album was announced as one of the 12 albums shortlisted for the year's Mercury Prize award.[17] Primary Colours was named the best album of the year by NME and in 2013 they named it the 218th greatest album of all time.[18]

Fact said that the album struck "a rich vein of brawny but windswept psychedelic rock".[19]

Pitchfork emphasized the band's change in style, noting their "shoegazer makeover" and concluding that the album succeeded in "transforming gothic gloom into psychedelic drone".[13]

Calling the album "the triple point where goth, post-punk, and shoegaze met", AllMusic concluded: "As bold and listenable as it is, Primary Colours is occasionally scattered, giving the impression that the band is trying on different sounds for size -- although the fact that most of it works so well is actually more surprising than how different it is from their earlier work.[7]

Track listingEdit

All songs written and arranged by the Horrors.

  1. "Mirror's Image" – 4:51
  2. "Three Decades" – 2:50
  3. "Who Can Say" – 3:41
  4. "Do You Remember" – 3:28
  5. "New Ice Age" – 4:25
  6. "Scarlet Fields" – 4:43
  7. "I Only Think of You" – 7:07
  8. "I Can't Control Myself" – 3:28
  9. "Primary Colours" – 3:02
  10. "Sea Within a Sea" – 7:59
Japan-only bonus tracks
  1. "You Could Never Tell" – 3:30
  2. "Whole New Way" – 4:58
  3. "Sea Within a Sea" (enhanced video) – 8:24


  • The Horrors – production, mixing, engineering
  • Craig Silvey – production, mixing, engineering
  • Geoff Barrow – production, mixing, engineering
  • Chris Cunningham – production on tracks 2 and 9
  • Ciaran O'Shea – sleeve artwork



  1. ^ "The Horrors Interview: The returning five-piece on 'Primary Colours'",, retrieved 8 July 2011
  2. ^ "The Horrors Album Preview: 'Primary Colours' seems set to be one of the year's best...",, retrieved 8 July 2011
  3. ^ a b "Horrors – Primary Colours",, retrieved 8 July 2011
  4. ^ The Horrors new single and tour, retrieved 8 July 2011
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Reviews for Primary Colours by The Horrors". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  7. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Primary Colours – The Horrors". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  8. ^ O'Neal, Sean (12 May 2009). "The Horrors: Primary Colours". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  9. ^ McNulty, Bernadette (4 May 2009). "The Horrors: Primary Colours". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  10. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (1 May 2009). "The Horrors: Primary Colours". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  11. ^ "The Horrors: Primary Colours". Mojo (187): 101. June 2009.
  12. ^ Robinson, Martin (28 April 2009). "Album review: The Horrors, Primary Colours". NME. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  13. ^ a b Berman, Sean (7 May 2009). "The Horrors: Primary Colours". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  14. ^ "The Horrors: Primary Colours". Q (275): 135. June 2009.
  15. ^ Sheffield, Rob (20 July 2009). "Primary Colours : The Horrors". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 26 July 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  16. ^ Wood, Mikael (May 2009). "The Horrors: Primary Colours". Spin. 25 (5): 90. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  17. ^ "The Horrors – Primary Colours",, retrieved 8 July 2011
  18. ^ NME's 500 Greatest Albums of all time. Consequence of Sound Retrieved 26 January 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "FACT mix 270: The Horrors". Fact. 1 August 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  20. ^ a b " – The Horrors – Primary Colours". Retrieved 1 June 2009.

External linksEdit