Despite appearances, it’s difficult to peg British quintet The Horrors from their garage-goth 2007 debut “Strange House.” Stylistically, they’ve quantum-leaped through 2009’s melodic “Primary Colours” to the majestic new “Skying,” awash in seven-minute-plus processionals like “Oceans Burning” and “Moving Further Away,” plus sonic experiments like the punky “Monica Gems” and a jazzy “Endless Blue.” Deep-timbred frontman Faris Badwan also has issued a self-titled album with his side project Cat’s Eyes, with vocalist/keyboardist Rachel Zeffira.
Cat’s Eyes actually played The Vatican, right? For a crowd of cardinals? Yeah, we did. It actually happened. And it was very, very overwhelming, one of the more surreal experiences in my life. Rachel sang for the Pope when she was a teenager, and she’s also half-Italian, and there’s literally no way to do that without speaking Italian.
How did you two meet? Just around London, really. And we didn’t talk about music for ages — we talked about film instead. Then one day I was doing some work in the studio and she came down just to hang out, and then we started writing a song together. Then we got quite competitive. And that’s the way we work best now — competing with each other and spurring each other on.
For “Skying,” you built your own studio. What about the space screamed “studio”? Really, very little. It was basically a big concrete loading bay. But it was all of the equipment that we put into it that turned it into the monstrosity that it is now. And it’s in East London, literally around the corner from most of our houses, so we can just walk there. And when we’re excited about something, we can work on it for a 24-hour stretch without ever leaving or seeing daylight.
Was it easy producing the record yourselves? The hardest part is not having an outside influence to view everything objectively. So the only way we found of doing this is having different people in the band step forward and backward on different songs. For example, with “Monica Gems,” Josh [Hayward] did a lot more on that because a lot of it comes out of his guitar playing. Then with more synth-y tracks, like “Changing the Rain,” Tom [Cowan] would be at the front.
Your progression over three albums is amazing. Which is what great artists should do, right? Well, yeah. And that’s what we thought, as well. But people question everything. And what we enjoy hearing in other bands is that desire … well, to be excited about making music, to actually be enthusiastic. So each of our three records is the sound of five people, totally filled with enthusiasm.
IF YOU GO
Where: Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $20 to $22
Contact: (415) 474-0365, www.bimbos365club.com, www.ticketfly.com