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Pink offers a lot of contrasting elements, none of which should be surprising for fans of Boris, but here they expand many of these elements to work together and produce an album with some surprisingly catchy moments adjacent to drone metal tracks. The whole works quite well, providing stretches of upbeat, well structured rock with more downtrodden and atmospheric songs. Boris has been putting together good amalgams of metal, drone and noise for sometime now; it's good to see their exposure is finally growing to match the strength of their catalogue.
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You'll be able to get a good part of their story in last Sunday's NYTimes Magazine feature (May 28, 2006!!!) on Sunn O))) and their Southern Lord label. It's all about how bands like Boris and Sunn O))) are putting a new and surreal face on metal. No longer is it just a choice between hair metal and thrash metal, Metallica and grindcore, songs about decapitation and songs about world-loathing. Boris's self-described dada approach puts them at the vanguard of "metal" bands (you've got to use this term loosely with these bands, 'cos they are bound and determined not to be crammed into a box; the best ones definitely succeed). Mastodon uses free-jazz drumming behind their punishing grind, Pelican's instru-metal creates beauty out of ambient time and harmony shifts . . . Boris? Boris does it all with a constant layer of shifting feedback beneath the wall of sound (think a louder and meaner VU or Bloody Valentine). They can be as disorientingly slow as the Melvins (from whom they draw their namesake--a classic song on _Ozma_); the difference is that they have their own unique lyrical approach and take the feedback attack in a less monolithic direction than do the Melvins. They can slap you upside the head with the terse directness of Motorhead, replete with a stinging guitar solo from Wata (that rare metal creature--a woman lead player). Again, this isn't quite your uncle's Motorhead, though. The feedback beneath infinitizes the sound, as Emmanuel Levinas might say if he theorized metal.
Lest you think this is merely a tour of loud music courtesy of three skillful Japanese impresarios, I implore you to buy this album. Words can only begin to express the visceral, emotional, and intellectual sensations that this band evokes. As is the case with all the best music, metal or otherwise, this is music that begs to be FELT. Like I said at the beginning of the review, there's a good chance that this uncompromising music will make you feel queasy, like the best of roller-coaster rides. Ride it all the way through, though, and you have one unforgettable and addictive experience. You'll get on over and over again and feel a new rush every time you hit the mad bends, curves, and topsy-turvies of this one.
A couple of weeks ago I heard a track on KUSF, I think it must have been "just abandoned my-self" and was really impressed. It seemed like it played for about 20 minutes and I just kept listening. I was suprised I didn't change the channel. Luckily, they announced the band at the end of the song and I decided I was just going to get the CD.
The CD arrived and I was immediately impressed by the cover art. There are three pieces of beautiful blotter paper, one is a partial Bosch painting. I put the CD in the stereo and the first song, "Farewell" was totally different from what I expected. It is like the best shoegazer song you have ever heard. It sounded so good on the stereo that after about half of the song I turned it off and decided I was going to save this album for a time when I could actually sit and listen, it was that great. Last week I went camping and brought a crappy CD walkman, this album filled my evening in the pitch black. I haven't felt this excited about a rock band in a while. Boris in some ways are traditional hard rock, but so much better than anything else I have heard in years in this genre. After hearing "Farewell" which is just a beautiful track, I was expecting more of this, but the album rolls right into some heavy music with the next track "Pink." While this is pretty heavy and can probably pull a lot of energy out, it is also just as suitable as headphone music to zone out with. As I listened to the album, there were times I wanted to break out and bang my head (well, sort of), I was happy just listening to the variety of tones this group can pull out. The drums are fantastic. "Electric" even has a fun high-hat, nearly disco thing going on amidst a whirl of electric guitar. While, the Sunn O))) influence is present, it's not really near that. "blackout" is probably one of the best droning on songs I have ever heard. I was actually thinking more along the lines of every great rock band's best material all mixed up. I remember the first time I heard Jane's Addictions first "live" album and I can't even say that JA were this good. I was also thinking of Smashing Pumpkins very best heavy music, but without the cheese. I could also make comparisons to Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Sonic Youth, etc. This is better, at least it is at the moment (it's still new). I am looking forward to the Sunn O)))/Boris collaboration coming out soon. My only fault with this album that is I do believe it is so good, it deserves to be listened to very loudly, on very good stereo equipment with no other distractions, which might mean it isn't going to get listened to very often. But then I guess that is what makes it special. I would hate for any of these songs to be overplayed on the radio, not that I see that happening, it's too good for radio. Looking forward to seeing this band live and have a feeling they are probably not going to let anyone down.
Pink is like taking all of your favorite bits of every other Boris album, from their straight up heavy rock to their droniest dirges, making it even better, and putting it all on one cd. When I try to think of a way to describe the sound... I can't say just one word.
Energetic. Pretty (the sound, not the pinkness). Loud. Heavy.
Just a fantastic album from start to finish.