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The Audio PhilesI'm Back! The Audiophiles returns to review Boris: Attention Please/ Boris: Heavy Rocks.
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, June 1, 2011    Share

Boris: Attention Please- From its visual kei-esque glammy cover to the decision to let female guitarist Wata sing lead it's evident that the first of Boris' simultaneous album releases is going to be an entirely different experience from Japan's avante garde/drone kings. 2008's Smile was a hint that the band were headed into alt-rock territories. Though by its album cover one might be lead to believe Boris is doing an ironic take on J pop and J Rock such is not the case. Instead they tackle quirky dance punk, indie rock, and even trip hop ala Bjork. Wata makes a formidable lead singer for this costume of the band. I say costume because while all of us on this side of the water were salivating over Smile's awesome shoegaze and stoner rock and hailing it as album of the year Boris themselves insisted it was all "comical lyricism" and self aware 80's posturing. Though they stressed it wasn't satire! Musically Attention Please mines that special time of the mid-90s that was after grunge but before the pop revival and the terror of nu metal. Bjork, trip hop, P.J. Harvey etc. are all reference points in what actually is Boris' must fully cohesive album of their rock phase that began with Pink.

Boris: Heavy Rocks- It may be confusing to some to see the title of Boris' third new album of the year named exactly the same title as their 2002 album. But Heavy Rocks 2011 bears no relation other than an identical cover (in purple instead of orange). Heavy Rocks along with its twin release Attention Please are more complete versions of an early Japanese only release from this year entitled, drolly, New Album. New Album is a mess of a release. A compilation of different versions of songs of Heavy Rocks and Attention Please all strung together with no cohesion, purpose or context. Heavy Rocks like Attention Please aims to discover new territory and as the band puts it their search to "redefine heavy music". Heavy Rocks 2011 is indeed heavy but redefine it does not and when it comes down to it it really isn't all that heavy by Boris standards. Boris is obviously still in their costume but for this album it's the heavier side of 90's alt-rock as the songs conjure various nostalgia trips of the post rock scene like Polvo, Tortoise, and most notably Mogwai. And though certain tracks are heavier than anything Mogwai has done it's nothing post metal bands like Pelican haven't tackled for years now and there is more than a slight debt being paid here to the Smashing Pumpkins shoegaze and cybermetal dalliances. Heavy Rocks and Attention Please are both solid great releases but Boris being best known for experimentation causes one to shed a tear for these releases as the band for the first time are replicators instead of innovators.

"The Audio Philes" is ©2011 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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