Feb 14th, 2008, 11:34 PM
Boris - Smile
Could the 14th time is the charm for Boris, the Japanese band...
They're a Japanese band, do you really need any more of a comment with that!?
Anyways, this year they announced their new album was entitled "Smile", to the confusion of anyone who is aware of the unreleased Beach Boys album. Then they had a promotional picture, confusing all who thought glam rock hairstyles just might be making a comeback. Then it got leaked after we all stopped laughing at Atsuo's haircut, and though we were all still very confused, we was happy to see the result.
Sure this fits in the whole "It's like Heavy Rocks because it's a rock album." line but thankfully, unlike the last two efforts (Akuma No Uta and Pink), it's a bit stronger and more solid even in it's bizarre clarity. I mean, they delve into some truly unconventional stuff for a band like this (Not that that's anything new, considering Vein was shrieking hardcore punk or nasty noise-punk), but it works very strongly, and have manipulated their instruments to give this album a big experimental feel.
The prime example of the wierd control is Shoot!, where the drums sound like an army of marshmallow men free-falling into a neighborhood. The guitars sound like they're screeching through a chalkboard made of metal. If the lyricism is the least bit jokey, then I'll be convinced that they dropped the Melvins worship for some Ween worship, with a bit of their own twists.
Message is also very bizarre, yet very trippy and enjoyable. It starts out all groovy and rthymatic and then they throw in these train-like "Woo-hoo" sounds for a good four minutes before a guitar solo kicks in and the drummer sings with some fruity, FRUITY vocals. Hell, all three members sing on this 7-minute groove. It reminds me a bit of Ruins but without the insane drumming, so I particularily like it. And speaking of the vocals, Takeshi is top-notch here which is a relief, as his singing tends to be very shaky and dodgy at times (Examples being that Rainbow collab and any live release.)
I think what I love about the album is sheer variety mixed with a bit of consistency. You have a bluesy cover (Flower, Sun, Rain), a pop-rocker (Next Saturn), a re-recorded song with vocals (Dead Destination, also one of the most satisfying tracks on the album.), a speedy rocker that could sorta fit on their other albums (Buzz-In), and a lengthy yet explosive prog-rocker that sounds like a condensed compact Flood (You Put Up Your Umbrella, which being spread over two parts and 28 minutes, is a perfect closer to the album.).
So there's a little bit for everybody and a bit of spread over genres without being too distanced or outright annoying about it. Comparing this to any of their other albums is virtually impossible, but on it's own right? The 14th time is definitely the charm.