Boris - Noise (3 stars)

19th studio album tries to cover too many concepts ensuring it only sporadically hits bullseye

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Boris - Noise

(Sargent House)

Boris’ 19th studio album (yes 19th!) and they’ve thrown a dash of everything into the casserole for Noise – which sporadically hits the bullseye on a number of jams throughout. The Japanese trio are renowned for their ecstatic and eclectic approach to heavy music, but it’s safe to say that they’ve been dithering more on a slightly more accessible tilt with some of their longplayers on Sargent House such as ‘New Album’ which surprisingly ventured down a J-Pop and synth-pop trajectory to a somewhat mixed response, or their quite oddball collaborative release BXI in 2010 with the Cult’s Ian Astbury.

The first real belter after the initial three tracks of hooky chorus riff filler has to come when guitarist Wata’s delicate vocals are enveloped in a crushing wash of fuzz on ‘Heavy Rain’ reminiscent of the original Heavy Rocks release and Akuma No Uta. A hair raising moment which will remind jaded droners and pudgy sludgers that Boris still packs a lot of heat when they choose to wield it. Cue a totally disposable pop ditty ‘Taiyo no Baka’ directly after, giving ‘Noise’ even more curious pacing than is needed and pretty much sets the yoyo-ing tone in terms of content.

It recovers a couple of times, notably on the post-rocky quiet/loud/quiet vigour on ‘Angel’ which, albeit predictable, wavers into ‘Feedbacker’ territory in moments. The straight up D-Beat flat-picking dynamics on ‘Quicksilver’ has to be the highlight of an otherwise bipolar release and wouldn’t be amiss from Amebix or the Varukers, tuned down a peg and extended by way of a ghostly outro. It’s annoying how conceptually wide-ranging this band can be, especially when they connect so much more when they’re just rocking the fuck out. Why they didn’t make a whole album of said material is utterly beyond me.

Boris - "Vanilla"(official video)

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