posted on 4/2008 By:
My first contender for a top ten album of the year: Boris' Smile.
Boris is an experimental post-rock outfit from Japan. The band is a mish-mash of styles, more or less lumped together to create albums ranging from discordant indie rock to complete speaker destroying noise. Smile is not a drastic jump from its predecessor, Pink. The music hangs somewhere between Matador Records circa 1990, early 70s Pink Floyd, and a light dash of hardcore a la Minor Threat or Suicidal Tendencies.
What Smile does right is frame Boris for exactly what they are, a very influential band that is very influenced. The shameless brandishing of their influences is what makes Boris such a blast to listen to, particularly on their full-lengths. I'll explain later. This album has a very authentic 'Indie' sound as if it were made some time in the early 90s along with a certain analog sensibility. There are no triggered drums or digital recording effects to be found here, only a 2" tape playing through a machine. The needle drop at the beginning of the album is a dead giveaway.
The album starts off with "Flower Sun Rain". A hybrid of SunnO))) feedback and complete Meddle-era Pink Floyd aping. The guitar solo around the 5:25 mark is spot on David Gilmour. The lyrics are sung in Japanese, so they're not entirely easy to understand as you can imagine.
"Buzz-In", "Laser Beam" and "Statement" follow and are balls to the wall early 80s hardcore. I can't help but be reminded of Suicidal Tendencies by "Statement". The vocals have a certain Mike Muir tonality and the riffs could easily be found on any Suicidal Tendencies' album up through How Can I Laugh Tomorrow...? Does it make sense? No. Does it make this album a total blast to listen to? Absolutely.
"My Neighbor Satan" is a dreamy track with some very heavy Melvin-ish moments. This is a really good song and Tatsui's vocals are perfect here. The drums have a certain reverb-ed thud here that makes them sound like Matt Cameron's drums on Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger. This might be my favorite song on the album, but it's a tough choice. "KA RE HA TE TA SA KI" and an untitled track round out the album in an eclectic fashion, leaving the listener full (for lack of a better word).
Smile is as much of a triumph as this band. However, I cannot under any circumstances guarantee that more than 10% of you who haven't heard this band will like them. Though this band is noted for influencing bands like Isis and Cult of Luna, they sound nothing alike. If you're familiar with Boris and liked Pink, then Smile will not even come close to dissappointing. In a year that, in this writer's opinion, has been pretty goddamn boring so far as metal and all music in general; Boris brings it.
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