Review Summary: The most un-Boris-like album ever, may just be the most Boris-like album ever.
“Boris is Boris.” It’s sort of an unspoken phrase among fans and followers of the Japanese trio, and really, it’s sort of the theme of the band, as it perfectly captures everything that they’ve embodied over the years. Basically, it means to expect anything and everything from the band, regardless of how out-there it may seem at a cursory glance. That being said, many still find the band starkly off-putting. Constantly being pigeon-holed into a “drone/ambient” type of genre, Boris are seen as incredibly unwelcoming, occupying a strange and unsightly niche among the music world. Yet as the saying goes, “Boris is Boris,” and even the most un-Boris things can turn out to be so……Boris.
Case in point: New Album
. New Album
, to put it plainly, is a sheer joy to listen to. Oddly enough, it could easily be described as the band’s “pop album,“ featuring chilled melodies, uplifting beats, and short and quick bursts of saccharine coated gooey pop goodness. Have no fear, while on the surface it lacks that heavy Boris feel, the impetuous charm still rises to the top. After all, Boris always bring the quirky and off-kilter in spades, and New Album
exemplifies that fact, magnifying it to an obscene amount.
This immediately becomes evident with the opening track, “Part Boy.” The thick, pulsating beats welcome Wata’s airy yet daintily pleasant vocals (of which play a major role in New Album
). Glitzy synths and cheesy drum hits fill the background, giving the song an ineffably charming feel. The song is a pretty great representation of New Album
, as it rocks as much as it glides along seamlessly. “Kibou-Hope” and “Flare” follow suit, but with a bit more heavy an aesthetic, and a greater emphasis on a quicker tempo. After all, the Boris we all know and love is just as present as ever, and the guitar based hard rock styles of Pink
poke their head out frequently, which for the most part allows for the electronics featured heavily on the rest of the album to take a back seat to the more traditional J-rock sound. However, things get really out there when Boris actually do
bring out the electronics. “Black Original,” for example, is an almost entirely techno affair, as it’s a thick, suffocating track, with some deeply sensual vocals to top it all off. “Pardon” offers a chilled-out piece, turning the speed and intensity down to near zero, and instead opting for a preposterously relaxed atmosphere, layered with haze and texture. Separately these tracks do little in the way of making any impression, but as a packaged whole, New Album
comes off as a wonderfully solid collection of tracks.
Boris could be ***ing with us, or they could be having the time of their lives, who honestly knows? Creatively, it’s one of the most interesting thing they’ve ever done, while on the other hand, it’s the most bizarre and unconventional things they’ve ever concocted. Aside from a few weak tracks, everything sounds so damn good, so damn addicting, and ultimately, so damn fun
. Perhaps this really was the intention, perhaps Boris wanted to let their hair down, and let their listeners to the same. After all, they’ve been in the murky depths for years now, and maybe New Album
is their breath of fresh air. And oh how refreshing it truly is.