Review Summary: disappointing release from a band brimming with potential
Boris are certainly a creative little group, with an extremely extensive back catalogue only going back ten or so years. One can be sure that after so many releases in such a short span of time Boris would dry up creatively? In short terms, no. It is a fair statement to say that Boris have never made the same album twice. From their early drone material to their ambient masterpiece “Flood” and more presently, their fuzzed-out rock sound, Smile
shows that Boris have not only reinvented their sound but have also kept remnants of the past.
brings something to the table that Boris have never really dabbled in, this is the addition of electronics. The album starts off with a build-up but weirdly does not erupt into any madness; instead, the sound is contained and creates something new for the band. Some of the tracks go off in swirling rock directions ala Pink but half of the tracks here are more akin to electric synths. Something people may wonder is, are the addition of synths positive or negative to the band’s sound? In many ways, it is both; they give Boris more room for experimenting and expressing their artistic vision but many times it seems to curdle the enjoyment of the listener. Smile
is sadly a tedious listen, and that’s down to the band maybe getting too
caught up on specific ideas. The addition of synths is a surprising addition but its inclusion never creates any moments of profound beauty. Nothing on here stands up to the mighty Flood III, the long, beautiful feedback of Feedbacker or even the ingredients that made Pink just a generally cool album to listen to. At this point in the bands career, Boris have a chock load of unnecessary dawdling that really did not need to be there. With more surprises and parts, Smile could be a strong, solid album.
Long songs are usually a drag unless they are kept at a constant interest. Weirdly, most of my favourite bands cherish long songs and use the format as a way of creating perfect art. While Boris certainly aren’t new to drawn out epics, it is evident that they need to check up on their technique. The songs don’t have enough parts in them to be this long and thus creates an anxiety for the listener to skip songs.
After painting this LP in such a negative light, I feel sort of guilty. While, as I said, Smile
lacks those moments that made their previous efforts so special, this is not entirely true. Smile
certainly does have moments, the problem is that the moments aren’t that special and merely just keeps the album afloat, lacking the profundity of their previous efforts. Though this might be a bit harsh, as in all truth, Boris have the potential to make a complete classic and Smile came as a disappointment. But if you can get over this sense of disappointment, you’ll soon realize that Boris have a lot to offer as a group, even though what is offered might not be necessary. At the end, Boris will no doubt keep you smiling