Friday, May 30, 2008

Boris - Smile

I just recently discovered this Japanese trio due to Dan Epstein’s auper-hip blog, La Vie en Robe. In the video that Dan posted, the ultra-cooly-aloof female guitarist produces shrieking guitar tones while posing expressionlessly in front of a massive stack of Orange speakers while the bassist/singer sports a double neck guitar and screams his lungs out as the drummer flails like he was in Blue Cheer! Amazing stuff!

They are a bit more divergent and experimental on record, but no less manic and no less crazed! The kinda remind me of early Union Carbide Production, not necessarily in the sound, but in the juxtaposition of rockin’ noise and just plain noise!

Opening with “FlowerSunRain”, the tempo is somewhat slow, but the guitar wails away like an outtake from “Maggot Brain’! It builds until it is almost overwhelmingly sonic and then stops suddenly before it becomes too much. This gives a good idea of what these cats do – an ambient background with heavy overtones. Very interesting and different.

“Buzz-In”, by contrast, is overdriven punk rock mania, pure and simple! “Laser Beam” follows and is more of a high-energy/heavy metal powerhouse driven at break-neck speed and is a piece of beautiful insanity!

A short acoustic interlude that is abruptly cut off leads into “Statement”, the high-energy r’n’r that is featured in the video mentioned above. This single made me actually search out and buy a new band’s CD at full price, so you know it’s gotta be good!

“My Neighbor Satan” alternates between pretty, melodic balladry and over-driven, wah-wah wackiness that would make any normal person think that it was two different songs but one thing that Boris isn’t is “normal”!

I don’t know what the hell “Ka Re Ha Te Ta Sa Ki’ (sub-titled “No Ones Grieve”) might possibly mean (if anything), but it starts will a wall of bass distortion before blasting into still more super fast drumming and layers and layers of guitars. It then takes a tangent somewhere along the line and turns into a drone-y tune, but keeps the layers of guitars soloing on top of it all! Melanie says it reminds her of Pink Floyd, but this is far heavier and more distorted than any PF I’ve ever heard! But, I understand the cosmic comparison – this definitely sounds like something I could listen to if I still got high. Hell, I dig listening to it straight! But I could see this as a backdrop for a midnight ride across a desert or a soundtrack for a bad acid trip.

The record officially closes with the ethereal “You Were Holding an Umbrella” that is more quiet, Pink Floyd-ian in its approach – that is until you are bombarded with a massive amount of super-loud feedback! Once again, they move back and forth from quiet to loud before moving into a Blue Cheer-esque wall of noise.

There is a final, uncredited track that is pretty much quiet, ambient sounds, but once again, they simply can’t help throwing on some excessive guitar freakouts. Overall, though, this is mellow – I guess they just want to make sure that they have your attention once in a while!

Whether or not you get high, if you are a fan of psychedelia as well as high-energy metallic rock, then Boris is a damn groovy mix of the two!