Review Summary: Attention please attention please attention please attention please attention please attention please attention please attention please attention please

On our quarterly Staff playlist back in December, this site described Boris’ “Drowning By Numbers”, our first glimpse into their new album W, as a terrible lead single unlikely to attract many subsequent returns. The accompanying register was humorous and earnestly excited, but honestly I’ll go one up and say that W offers prospective new listeners such a terrible point of entry I refuse to give Boris an introduction for it. Get out of here – go read what some other hack has to say about Flood and Feedbacker and why their labyrinthine discography supports such legendary status, and don’t come back here without a fierce sum notches on your belt. Out!

That’s all the context we need: in we go with W. Insofar as it has one, this album’s core is a prettier take on the typical groan and strain of Boris’ drone sound, loosely comparable to such not-fan-favourites as “My Machine” and “Endless”. It’s every inch a drone record, but a succinct one entwined with dreamlike aesthetics and electronic flirtations that (very) vaguely recall the band’s approach back in the New Album era a decade+ ago. This may well be an attractive prospect, but its moments of excellence are fleeting; the bulk of these tracks are frequently underdeveloped, and all too often placed alongside one another without a shred of cohesion.

In particular, the first five tracks successively reinterpret the band’s ultrabroad downbeat brief in a thoroughly disconnected fashion, each pulling a hard reset on whatever palette and tone precedes one. It’s rare to hear an album this indifferent to maintaining any kind of dialogue across sequencing: at best, this pans out in standalone highlights that hardly require the weight of a full record behind them, as on the gorgeous early gem “Icelina”; at worst it’s anything from forgettable to irritating, as on “The Fallen”’s completely unheralded lurch into full-tilt metal midway through the tracklist. It’s an inoffensive, if half-baked track on its own, but it belongs in this tracklist like an armpit on a cobra. An obvious stumble, sure, but also symptomatic of wider fractures.

Fortunately, this run of immersion-breakers is limited: in unexpected confirmation that the U-bend on the cover of NO was indeed a portent of a new Boris-patented filtration system, W establishes a flow of sorts at the precisely point where many would consider giving up on it altogether. By far the most focused cut on the album, “Beyond Good and Evil” introduces a bleaker, more fragile tone that the following tracks largely adhere to, and yet this finds itself countered by another significant pitfall. Perhaps more frustrating than any individual weak link, the album’s moments of promise tend to prematurely curtail themselves the moment they hit their stride. “Old Projectors” is the worst offender here, shifting from a melancholy drone to the kind of heaviness that suggests however many incoming minutes of spellbinding drone/doom, only to be relegated to a short-lived afterthought; opener “I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…” and “The Fallen” are almost as guilty of similar truncation. It does not help the album’s already episodic form that so many of its tracks sound within themselves like excerpts of an unheard whole; the only one to feels thoroughly complete is the hazy closer “You Will Know”, a lovely Mono-esque burnout that can’t help but land as too little too late.

Writing in the hope that none but dedicated(ish) fans will still be reading by now, it is my duty to point out that this is the first Boris album since Attention Please where guitarist Wata takes exclusive control of the mic. As that album proved with unfortunate clarity, Wata fares far better when her wavering delivery is supported by a show of muscle then when she’s assigned the mission impossible of carrying actual pop songs. However, her role here is more line with a shoegaze vocalist, better viewed as an additional layering than a particular focal point. “Beyond Good and Evil” and “You Will Know” hang a couple of stirring melodies on the edge of her whisper, but for the most part she’s easy to overlook here. This may be for the best.

Ultimately, I doubt W will carry significant bearing on the way people view Boris’ supertapestry, positive or negative. Expect the unexpected is practically their slogan; it’s usually cited with a complimentary valence, but I think there’s also an implicit understanding that the sheer quantity of eggs required to produce that many omelettes is going to involve the occasional face-to-face with an unchecked embryo. That’s W: it’s got all the right DNA, but we’re looking at the unfortunate story of an unhatched chicken of drone here, destined for dusty exhibition in the Boris basement alongside the likes of Vein, Love and Evol, and if we’re being extra harsh, Asia. Not much of an audience down there, but it could be in worse company.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


61288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it is Boris



listen #1: miffed

listens #2 & #3: actually this is good

listens #4 onwards: this is good but why why why why does it self-sabotage so hard

80 minute long vinyl release when?

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


18258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I feel bad that you’re already on your way to a half dozen listens.



Good write up as per the usual. Apt summary.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


61288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

most of this is v pretty i have no complaints about that time

on the other hand why is this your only boris rating is this a meme



samwise2000
January 22nd 2022


1875 Comments


Cant wait to listen

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


18258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

-is this your only boris rating is this a meme-



Off memory this is the only release that’s fallen on my radar for whatever reason. Will admit I am not familiar with integral band lore. That said this isn’t causation for me to suddenly to a discog deep dive.

parksungjoon
January 22nd 2022


47234 Comments


check pink its kinda like a kyuss album

Space Jester
January 22nd 2022


11143 Comments


Gnocchi ignored the first paragraph and decided to start here despite Johnny’s warning against doing so. He deserves his fate

Space Jester
January 22nd 2022


11143 Comments


Also good review I feel the same way, nice to listen to but also like why does it feel like all the songs are unfinished

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


18258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

That paragraph isn’t admissible as I stumbled on this album before said review exits- already stating displeasure as personal fact etc etc

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


6213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is one moody listen. I kind of expected this to be an Attention Please 2, not bad overall, but yes, it could have been better.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


32073 Comments


Only you could do it Johnny.

I tried this several times, never finished it. Unbelievably boring.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


61288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

idk about boring, tbh most of these tracks would be fine in my books with an extra five minutes on the end, that opener esp

"kind of expected this to be an Attention Please 2"

i guess in a lot of ways it kinda is, sounds more trad Boris in many ways too maybe hmm

"only release that’s fallen on my radar for whatever reason"

tf kind of radar is that

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


5550 Comments


cool review but is this album a w or an l or does it complete the word 'now' and should it thus be seen as an extension of no or no

Tunaboy45
January 22nd 2022


18472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the move to Sacred Bones at least has me interested, good write up

Pikazilla
January 22nd 2022


30473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hmm

figure337
January 22nd 2022


887 Comments


First listen and I can tell this is a texture album. Nice but enjoyment is pretty mood dependent.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


18258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

-tf kind of radar is that-



*mental shrug here*



we're probably beyond justifying shit to each other at this stage. We both stroke to different listens sometimes.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2022


61288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

knowing that the rest of boris exists and choosing to jump in on an ambient grab bag isn't something you need to justify to me

Tunaboy45
January 22nd 2022


18472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like ambient Boris a lot honestly, maybe not as much as their heavier/doomier/dronier stuff but it's a necessary palate cleanser and it always sounds refreshing to me.

DDDeftoneDDD
January 22nd 2022


22562 Comments


Lol these are important bands like whatever



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