Review Summary: Kawaii as fuck
Although I have no idea how this split came to be, I do know that Yuki Chikudate of Asobi Seksu is a big fan of Boris. And so am I. For this album, which contains just two short tracks, each band decided to cover one song from each other. Both bands bring their own unique flavour, and the songs end up sounding like originals rather than covers. The two songs come from the bands most critically acclaimed and successful albums. It would have been interesting to see other material covered from a past Boris album, but with a crossover as cool as this, who can complain.
The EP opens with Asobi Seksu’s contribution, a cover of Boris’ epic “Farewell”, from the album Pink. “Farewell” is one of Boris’ most shoegaze-y songs, with delayed guitar and ethereal vocals taking the lead, so it’s no surprise dreampop band Asobi Seksu would choose to cover it. The track largely consists of oozy synth chords played over a simply beat, with guitarist James Hanna contributing some effect heavy guitar in the background. The best aspect of Asobi Seksu’s cover is Yuki’s lowered vocals. Usually, she sticks to faint, reverbed vocals, but here Yuki sings more clearly and powerfully. It’s a pleasing change to Asobi Seksu’s style. And, the song itself is a fun interpretation of “Farewell” taking it from a droning shoegaze masterpiece to a fairly gleeful pop song. I could’ve done with some more input from James on guitar, but the track is fun anyways.
Meanwhile, Boris decided to take a shot at “New Years” from Asobi Seksu’s 2006 album, Citrus. Here, it appears as “Neu Years”, though I’ve no idea why. Just a Boris thing I imagine. In contrast to the Asobi Seksu track, this version of Boris is one we really haven’t heard before. Wata comes in on slightly distorted guitar, but also adds her own brand of vocals to the mix. It sounds slightly strained at times, since Wata usually sings at a lower register than Yuki. Still, it sounds good and definitely fits the song. Atsuo, as usual, adds his drum work to the mix, playing a simple pattern under the song that gives it a punk aesthetic. Heavy synth work shows up here, giving another layer to the song and helping transition it from verse to verse. Certainly, this is more of a stretch for Boris. Although all the elements of the song have appeared on past albums (especially 2011’s Attention Please), it’s a very new sound for Boris. They pull it off pretty well, but it sounds like Asobi Seksu had an easier time covering “Farewell”.
This is a fun and extremely short split from two great bands. More material would’ve been welcome, since the little that does appear is so well done you’re left wanting more. I would’ve loved to see Asobi Seksu’s take on the epic Feedbacker, or perhaps even Boris covering one of the softer songs from Hush. It remains a great idea that could’ve been fleshed out a bit more – easily worth a download however. And that album cover is pretty damn cute.