Boris - W

28 Jan 2022 - Thorsten

Drone, Ambient, Dreamgaze | Sacred Bones Records | Release date: 21 Jan 2022 | Favorite song: Beyond Good and Evil

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Sometimes things must be clear cut and to the point as my friend Maarten would always advise me! So let‘s make it clear: Boris‘ new record W should be on a lot of AOTY-lists for 2022 because which other band is perfectly in the middle of SunnO))), Sigur Ros, and the Melvins?! None!

W is a wonderful album, because it combines all the elements for which one loves the Japanese veterans of “everything-is-possible rock”. Their record is jazzy and droney, noisey and dreamy; it’s loud as the everlasting pyres in hell and quiet like the sunset behind a boat far away on the horizon; it can comfort and simultaneously scare one as well.

The whispered vocals once again create a level of intimacy hardly ever achieved by other bands and of course, the Japanese lyrics come into play here as listening to these words has an onomatopoeic effect just like the Hoppelandish lyrics in the songs of Sigur Ros: One tries to get the intention behind the lyrics by their change of intonation, change of volume, change of vocal style – whether they’re sung, are whispered or hushed. Wata’s vocals even sound similar to Jonsi’s because of a similar intonation. And combined with some nicely drawing up, slowly dragging ambient elements that makes for a brilliant basis for dreamy shoegaze – a wonderful example is the opening track ”I Want to Go To The Side Where You Can Touch”.

However, never think you have W all figured out – it surprises you with a Trojan horse of a track like ”The Fallen” - pure noise-metal-paradise! This track also shows best why this record is laid out to be a complement to last year’s manic aggressor No. Shrieking, shrill, full of stomping distortion AND reverb it creates a feeling of claustrophobia – something No also achieved frequently. In some sense, W is like the calmer version of its predecessor and together both records are NoW - a reflection on our times, with panic due to the pandemic and the soothing voice of science volunteering to help our jangled nerves.

Even after the harshness and uproar of ”The Fallen” one should not think to know this record, because the next track ”Beyond Good And Evil” shows yet another side of the trio’s masterful musicianship. This track would not be misplaced on a record by The Fuji Doomjazz Corporation or Bohren & Der Club of Gore: shuffling along over a slow beat with the help of a drum brush the song abruptly falls into noise-intonation after roughly two minutes without raising the pace – exactly how Doomjazz should be done.

One could analyze this record to death and try to look at every little nook’n’crook that Wata, Atsuo and Takeshi have adorned it with but that would be too tiresome on the one and too boring on the other side. A wonderful journey into sound that is best enjoyed via some good earphones for best immersion, W is exactly where we need it to be – it is now. And the good thing about now? It never ends. Think about it. W ends on repeat after repeat. And that is what makes our AOTY in the end, right? Boris is once more hard to beat with this “W” – this win.