The Horrors - Sheena Is A Parasite - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

The Horrors - Sheena Is A Parasite

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

It's maybe difficult to remember now after so many years of half-arse 60s garage rock revivals and regulation bat's nest hair and eyeliner for men, but there was something so bracingly, invigoratingly odd about The Horrors when they first gained a toe-hold in the national consciousness. This appealing wrongness was summed up best in the violent and psychopathic one minute and 40-odd seconds that made up 'Sheena is a Parasite'.

After crashing in double time two-note bass riff and intriguingly compressed, scattershot drum beat - like an indie band attempting to recreate the rhythms of drum'n'bass and ending up somewhere completely other - a demonic guitar scree rears up, along with Ferris Badwan's appalled, throat-shredding vocal. What's he screaming about? The whole 'song' is a super-compressed, barely intelligible rant at a woman, possibly an immigrant, who lives on the fringes of society, most likely in a world of her own delusion. What's she doing that's so bad? We aren't privileged with that knowledge. Any coherency is immolated by that horrific, twisting guitar scream and Badwan's histrionic demands that we "Send her back across the sea! Back across the sea!" To top it all off, there's a nightmarishly cheesy fairground organ parping over proceedings like its laughing at a joke only it gets. Honestly, you would be hard pressed to locate two more unhinged, ugly and sense-defying minutes in the entire history of recorded music.

At the time, most media attention focused on the schlocky Chris Cunningham-directed video that accompanied the single. It was a canny move by the band to get his name linked to theirs, but it's possibly his laziest effort. Never mind. Four year on, 'Sheena is a Parasite' still sounds like everyone's favourite worst nightmare.

Richard Morris

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