Boris - Japanese Heavy Rock Hits, Vols. 1-4 Review (Southern Lord) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Boris - Japanese Heavy Rock Hits, Vols. 1-4 Review (Southern Lord)

In the fall last year, Southern Lord announced the release of a series of vinyl 7" singles by Boris. The 'kicker' with this announcement was that if you purchased the set in advance, you received a limited edition purple vinyl pressings of the first three singles along with a bonus one-sided single that was only available to subscribers of the series. For anyone who missed out on this series, the first three singles are available on (presumably?) black vinyl from Southern Lord and iTunes.

There is nothing 'typical' about Boris' music as it varies from disc to disc and sometimes from track to track. In the case of this three 7" set, Boris seems to touch on all of the genres of their last few releases.

Boris - Japanese Heavy Rock Hits - Vol. 1 Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Vol. 1 starts out strong with with "8" which is a five minute+ throwback to the alt-rock pop of Dirty-era Sonic Youth. The song starts with some ambient echo-drenched power chord riffs before switching directions and kicking into some shredding guitar work, pounding drums and soaring melodic vocals. "Hey Everybody" is a driving, hard-rock take on the alt-rock formula that is one part bubblegum and one-part industrial dance.

Boris - Japanese Heavy Rock Hits - Vol. 2On Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Vol. 2, Boris start things out with the c*ck rock anthem "H.M.A. (Heavy Metal Addict)" which is complete with hand-claps and the repeated chorus of H.M.A. Boris then completely shifts gears on "Black Original" which is a slinky industrial dance songs that has has a catchy groove backed by some solid guitar noodling.

Boris - Japanese Heavy Rock Hits - Vol. 3Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Vol. 3 is probably the strongest single of the set and it is a return to the slow, lo-fi drone sound of Boris' early releases. The single starts with “16:47:52” which is a subtly beautiful song that features Wata on vocals backed by a minimalist piano, guitar and snare drum. It is a toss-up between "16:47:52" and "8" as to which one is the strongest cut of the Heavy Rock Hits set. "..and Hear Nothing" rounds out the single with 5+ minutes of feedback drenched, crashing monolithic drone.

Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Vol. 4The final one-sided single "Seasons" is dream-pop song in the style of early Belly. This is the first song in this set where Wata's vocals are clearly up-front in the mix. Her vocals along with an angular (almost surf) guitar gives this song a somewhat melancholy but catchy alt-pop groove.