Boris - Pink
Southern Lord
Avant Garde Sludge
11 songs (55'21")
Release year: 2005
Boris, Southern Lord
Reviewed by Adam
Every so often, people get complacent with doing the same thing all of the time. They usually seek to change their lifestyle in small ways to combat this boredom. Bands are often examples of the same issue. They feel they’re being pigeonholed and proceed to play something completely out of character seeking recognition and rejuvenation. In this way, Japan's Boris have never seemed to stay with one sound for long. One can find instances of post rock, sludge, drone, doom, and many others scattered amongst their diverse discography. Even though Boris has frequently tinkered with their musical boundaries in the past, they generally seem to stick to one overall style on each release. However, they decided to seriously test their limits on Pink, an amalgam of all they’ve done in the past with a few new endeavors just for kicks.

As Pink is very ranging, most songs deserve their own review so as to convey the many different attitudes present. This journey begins with the lush beauty of Farewell. After some odd opening noise, which led me to believe I was in for some signature Boris drone, a melodious guitar line jumps in that would be feel right at home on a Jesu album. This song is very powerful, an enchanting mixture of sludged out guitars and a layered vocal that gives Farewell a distorted post rock feel. Another aspect that stands out here, and will continue to shine throughout Pink, are Atsuo’s drums. The production really makes the snare pop, reminiscent of Steve Albini’s handiwork.

Following the daydream inducing quality of Farewell, the title track comes promptly along to break the trance. Sounding like an acid rock song on overdrive, Atsuo really puts on a show here with a masterful effort in keeping the fervent pace. At one point, Pink's guitar sound switches gears and clears up while adding a significant amount of low end. Woman on the Screen and Nothing Special continue the accelerated onslaught. Garage rock revival groups would do themselves a favor to take note of the cohesive attack Boris have perfected with these three songs. All three are similar in style, although it appears the guitar tone evolves on each one, going from the low end, Jimi Hendrix sounding tone of Pink to the fuzzed out, almost inaudible distortion of Nothing Special.

What follows is yet another complete sound overhaul. Thankully, Boris decide to reach into the vault and pull out their sludgy doom sound for Blackout. Starting with note one, it is supremely evident that their penchant for constructing magnetic doom drone heavy on the feedback has remained in top form. Blackout is the musical equivalent of being slowly pulled into a black hole. Truly, this outstanding track would sound right at home on their previous doom triumph Amplifier Worship.

To my chagrin, as I really enjoy the sound employed on Blackout, the altered guitar fuzz is brought back into the fold for Electric and Pseudo-Bread. The former is steady, driving instrumental piece, allowing Takeshi, Wata, and Atsuo to remind everyone of their mastery of their respective instruments. Pseudo-Bread reintroduces the acid rock sound and pace to the listener, complete with fantastic solos and a slowly building static earthquake of an ending.

The opening guitars on Afterburner once again pay very obvious homage to Jimi Hendrix before delving into serious stoner rock territory. Afterburner appears to chug along much slower than its actual pace, while strange elements such as claps and finger snaps help keep the time in certain moments. Six, Three Times continues this style and pace, though, while a good effort, it is not as memorable as Afterburner. As far as I can remember, this is a relatively new style for Boris. Due to this, their proficiency of the genre commands appreciation. I am starting to believe that these three could quickly dominate any style they decide to try out.

My Machine exists merely as an instrumental calming and transition to the closing epic Just Abandoned My-Self. A true twisting and turning 18+ minute experience, this is the free fall to the end of this album's roller coaster. While it begins in somewhat similar fashion to the stoner rock tracks on this album, it gradually morphs into a lulling drone mixture of feedback and ambient elements that only Boris could produce. This is one of those songs that you just don’t want to end. Undoubtedly, they probably could have gone the way of their prior one-hour long pieces (see Absolutego) with Just Abandoned My-Self were they so inclined.

You have to believe that its very frustrating for some bands to spend their whole musical existence trying to harness the perfect (insert genre here) sound only to have Boris come along and kick their ass just because they feel like it. My lone complaint for Pink would be that I might have ordered the songs differently, as there are moments where the pace of a song is so vastly different from its predecessor that it becomes tough for the listener’s mind to fully embrace the transition. Overall, though, Pink is a very strong and memorable effort that channels almost all of the past diverse sounds of Boris into one monster package.
Killing Songs :
Farewell, Blackout, Just Abandoned My-Self
Adam quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Boris that we have reviewed:
Boris - Smile reviewed by James and quoted 87 / 100
Boris - Absolutego reviewed by Goat and quoted 95 / 100
Boris - Amplifier Worship reviewed by Dee and quoted 77 / 100
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