Heavy Rocks II
posted on 6/2011 By:
If you're a Boris neophyte, there are a couple of things you need to know about Heavy Rocks straightaway:
1) By and large, it's relatively heavy...and it occasionally rocks.
2) This is the second album they've released with this title; the first Heavy Rocks came out back in 2002. It was heavier...and it rocked a little harder. Also, it was orange.
3) The album they've released in tandem with this one--Attention Please--is a much more compelling and unpredictable exhibition. However, it isn’t heavy...and it doesn't necessarily rock. So here we are.
These qualifiers aren't meant to start the proceedings on a curmudgeonly, clubbed foot, but a disclaimer is necessary: If this is your first prospective go-round with this amorphous trio, it'd be wiser to start with a more robust selection from the band’s impossibly indigestible discography. However, if you’ve been a longtime devotee of the speed-cruisin’, somewhat-stoned incarnation of Boris, this is your 2011 handout.
At certain points, Heavy Rocks fuckin’ delivers. “Galaxians” is a stroke of idiot-savant savagery, comprised almost entirely of white-hot wildness and primal howls. (If Boris put out an entire album packed gill-to-gill with these unhinged riffs and wild-ass Ric Flair machinations, I’d grind it on a mirror and rip it with my morning coffee.) “Window Shopping” is a similarly-charged blast of freedom—if little more than a glorified interlude—but it brings the streambreezing, freewheeling vitality in spades.
Heavy Rocks’ highlight is the twelve-minute “Aileron,” a fat n’ dreamy dronepop number that is, in spite of / due to its glacial pace, the most crucial and emotive thing on the record. Unfortunately, its brilliance also punctuates the failure of “Missing Pieces,” another twelve-minute composition that serves little purpose other than to stretch the album’s running time. It’s a microcosm for Heavy Rocks’ overall weakness: Boris has spread themselves a bit thin.
Which, of course, is inevitable; when you release four freaking albums in one year, there’s going to be a bit of chaff to sift through. (And yeah, I know New Album is comprised of remixes, but it’s notable for containing a version of “Jackson Head” that easily trumps the one found here.) “Key,” “Tu, La La,” and “Czechoslovakia” are entirely disposable, “Leak-Truth,yesnoyesnoyes” is as stilted and awkward as its title, and opener “Riot Sugar” is smeared by the gravely disappointing return of Ian Astbury. (Those wishing for a return to the glory of BXI won’t find it here; relegated to the background, Astbury just howls boorishly and indiscriminately into a corner, sounding every bit as bloated and washed-up as he actually is.)
These foibles must be taken in stride, as part of Boris' appeal is the act of digging through their bullshit to mine the gold. Trouble is, Heavy Rocks is extremely lean on the precious metal, rendering it a largely inessential offering amidst their towering catalog.
No matter. Wata has something to say, so pay attention to that instead.
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