With a genuinely astonishing and vast catalogue of releases to their legendary name, BORIS have earned the right to be regarded as underground legends. The Japanese band’s method and madness, perpetually intertwined, have led to some truly groundbreaking moments over the last 30 years: from the strung-out doom experiment of “Absolutego” to more accessible but equally out-there standouts like “Boris At Last -Feedbacker-“, “Pink” and “Smile”, BORIS have been very generous towards those who like to lose themselves in the mind-expanding magic of manipulated sound and overdriven guitars.In many ways, “W” feels like a particularly inviting and digestible addition to the BORIS canon. The band’s ongoing dalliance with dream-pop and shoegaze, while never expressed conservatively, has brought a brightness and textural depth to everything they do. As a result, everything from amorphous, wistful opener “I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…” onwards gets the balance between esoteric insanity and musical warmth just right. Reveling in contrast, “Drowning by Numbers” is a rumbling haze of post-punk fuzz and jittery beats, its skewed funk gait underscored by warped, cartoon electronics and billowing clouds of feedback and noise. “Invitation” is all queasy, ambient drift and ethereal sparkle; “The Fallen” is a blistering squall of furious sludge metal, like early MELVINS forced through the eye of a bloody needle; “Beyond Good and Evil” sounds perfect for the next David Lynch movie, with its air of smoky resignation and sudden jarring crescendos. Similarly, “Old Projector” defies expectations with a big grin on its face, starting with a slow-motion wave of soupy abstraction before ending with a brutally curtailed burst of grubby, doom riffing. Most startling of all, “You Will Know (Ohayo Version)” is BORIS at their most instinctive and feral: nine minutes of glacial fuzz and scattershot atmospherics that never quite settle into a groove, it’s unsettling and gorgeous in equal measure.
As ever, on their 27th studio album, BORIS are still making music that we categorize at our peril. “W” is a highly inventive, experiential piece of work, and that is probably the least surprising thing about it. Not for the first time, BORIS are taking a deep trip into the heart of sound.
01. I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…
03. Drowning by Numbers
05. The Fallen
06. Beyond Good and Evil
07. Old Projector
08. You Will Know (Ohayo Version)