Boris CD review by Bruce Adams

Music Reviews
Boris CD review by Bruce Adams
By
Jul 8, 2008, 17:38

BORIS - Smile
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BORIS Smile CD

I've been hunting and pecking my way through the Boris back catalog. I can't claim to have thoroughly listened to their corpus.

Some people who do have been disappointed with Smile. A simplified version of their argument is that Boris' older albums dug deeper into singular ideas and methods (Drone-Evil is an obvious example) and the band's collaborations with other musicians have been productive in motivating Boris to open up a bit. Pink and Smile, it is said, are too scattershot; they constantly reference what Boris has done and show that the trio is scrounging around for ideas.

I'm not quite convinced. Maybe if I had a lot of those quadruple, 500 gram, packaged in the pop-up, gatefold heavy cardboard sleeves Japanese albums* I might be. But from the perspective of a guy looking for a readily available reasonably priced, heavy rock album Smile works just fine. I can find plenty of bands specializing in this or that subgenre of metal or noise. But a reasonably inventive, heavy-hitting power trio is not so easy to find, much less one with Boris' flair.

I listen to plenty of bands and musicians who tightly focus themselves on to a certain “thing.” Robedoor, Rod Modell, Trap Them, and Victims all get a lot of play from me these days. These bands dig into one form, master it and run with it for all it's worth.

Now and then I like to listen to (and watch) a band that is a little unfocused. If Boris want to cover a 70s Japanese glam tune I'm ready to follow along. It's not as if I have the original stuck in my head as the definitive version, or as an abomination that can't be touched by any band. Toss in some “woo-woos”? I'm right behind you, Boris.

And sometimes it's okay for a band to swing for the fences and whiff out. Like another Japanese band, Sigh, Boris are fearless enough to take on anything. Unafraid of cheese, Boris are willing to stagger drunkenly from one rock form to another. Are they always graceful? Not quite. Does that matter to me? No, with this band not really. [Southern Lord]

*One legit criticism of Boris is that the complexity of formats and versions of their albums is bewildering and expensive. Lord knows bands need to find ways to make money from the release of physical records and CDs, but putting so much beyond the reach of many paying customers can be hard to watch for me, at least.

-Bruce Adams

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