posted on 5/2006 By:
At last Southern Lord rewards those who delay gratification with a domestic release of Pink, last year’s effort from Japan’s sonic changelings, Boris. In addition to being easier to find and afford, this version boasts an impressive new artwork layout assembled by Stephen O’Malley, as well as translated song titles. Those less familiar with the band would have good reason to opine that Boris has set out to capitalize on the attention and acclaim garnered by last year’s Akuma No Uta, but those who put in the considerable time to keep up with Boris’ prodigious output (in its multiple versions) will quickly point out that Akuma No Uta was actually released a few years ago and only surfaced here last year, and that in the meantime that band has released roughly 749 releases (I think the technical term is “a shitload”). But Pink IS similar to Akuma No Uta in that they both have a preponderance of uptempo, fuzzed out rock, and more importantly, each provides a substantial balance of the multiple faces of Boris.
Pink plays like a resume, offering flavors of all the weapons in the band’s repertoire, from drone to punk rock and stoner rock to post-rock, and therefore serves as a welcome Cliff’s Notes to those who hope to catch up on one of the more interesting bands in music today. Pink is a predominantly uptempo affair, but you’d never guess it from “Farewell”, which opens the album with a gloriously hazy, post-rock meditation. The wistful, ethereal song is like an awakening to the album, serving as a bleary eyed and leg stretching warmup for things to come. In this way, the track is reminiscent, in function if not style, of “Up the Beach” from the Jane’s Addiction classic, Nothings Shocking. The leisurely pace of the plush “Farewell” strikes a stark contrast with its successor. The title track ushers in what is to the focus for the majority of the remainder of Pink, and that’s unmercifully rollicking uptempo psychedelic rock. Plainly speaking, if Pink doesn’t make you move, check for a pulse. We’re talking ass shaking good times here, folks. In fact, this album is guaranteed to make even the most stoic head nod along, if only involuntarily. Boris layers on the fuzzy riffs like true aficionados, but what makes their sound so addicting is the way they use the rhythm section and pace the songs so that just when you think they’ve hit top gear, they pull out all the stops and push the energy that much higher. Also notable, and part of what gives Boris such outstanding crossover appeal, are the smooth, and sometimes emotive vocals of Takeshi.
The band somehow manages to top “Pink” with the frenetic, head shaking “Woman on a Screen”, driven by Atsuo’s manic drumming. The mood tops out with the nearly out of control, punk-tinged “Nothing Special”, only for Boris to slam on the breaks with “Blackout”, part intermission, part Percoset dream filled rumbling doom crawl of looming riffs, echoing drums and droning underbelly. As if nothing happened, the band doubles back into fuzzy, psychedelic rock, but without the increasingly frantic and barely in control mood of the first half of the album. The goofy grin of the resin coated “Electric”, crashing cymbals and all, follows “Blackout” as an anti-“Blackout”, serving as an accurate barometer of the second half of Pink, which is far more quirky and often laid back. The acid groove and spacey exaltations of “Afterburner” further drive the point home. “My Machine” serves as a mellow interlude of swelling guitar, which provides some respite before the marathon album closer “Just Abandoned My-Self”, a seventeen-minute track that devolves from noisy rock and roll into a heaving, droning mass. Those less appreciative of this element of Boris, or of drone in general, are likely to feel that this lengthy foray is excessive, but it’s all a part of the Boris experience. Pink recalls Akuma No Uta and Heavy Rocks before it, as highly crafted and equally satisfying fuzzed out rock and roll. If you’ve been waiting to see what all the fuss is all about, Pink is as good an introduction as you’ll find, and should serve both fans and new listeners well.
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