Boris Pink

[Southern Lord/Diwphalanx; 2006]

The most surprising thing about Boris' Pink is not its
so-dainty-it-must-be-metal sleeve art, its departures from the group's
beginnings, or its liberal use of vocals. What vexes the most is the
achingly average rut the trio settles into once triumphant opener
"Farewell" bids adieu and clean-up batter "Blackout" knocks its dank,
bulbous ball of biff-rock out of the park. When the hypsters step out of
their cave of comfort, they slip over mundane rawk riffage and cavalier
yelps. This flailing and flopping hints that, when stripped of the tripod
of post-rockian bombast, fluttering effects, and slow-grinding tempos —
all easy tricks to hide behind — Boris haven't a leg to stand on.

In the context of Pink, this would certainly seem to be an accurate
assessment. You can't please all the people all the time, especially when
playing to the fanatical fanboy hordes that grow and multiply every day
like the "ghosts" of the Fakahatchee Strand. But this reviewer couldn't
give a duck's fart about whether the fickle scenesters that ruin Indieland
for the rest of us are happy. Pink is quite simply half-there. Much
of its contents are wasted on pork-y, garage-by-way-of-doom ragers that
are the equivalent of cheap beer: you'll only resort to it in a pinch, and
you'll probably end up depositing a good portion of it in your crapper.

And those vocals — what's the deal? The understated moans of
"Farewell" flash so much full-house promise, only to disappear up the
bluffing Boris' sleeve in favor of two-pair pokes at proper pitch that
fall woefully short of the pat-hand dealt Pink by the press. The
guitar and bass work isn't much handier, resorting to the contrived
stonerisms many flock to doom-rock to avoid. Pushing to uncover extra
pockets of inspiration would likely have seen the Japanese group ascending
Sabbath-born cliché. A little foresight would have gone a long way, and
with Big Thicket, Coliseum, and many more ramming their big, dumb heads
against a wall of beefcake brawn, it's maddening to hear Boris branch out
in even a vaguely similar direction.

The production job does nothing to hide the trio's flaws, either.
Engineered to mimic the snuffbox muffle-job of a band jamming in a sardine
tin, Pink forces your speakers to rumble and gurgle, but unlike
classic albums of the genre like Jerusalem or Houdini, the
effect isn't winning. Tracks such as "Afterburner" are woefully irksome in
part due to their faulty knob-job, akin to a grainy vacation photo or a
long-lost love letter too smudged to discern. "Afterburner" finds its sea
legs somewhat after a few minutes tick by, but who has that kind of time?
Patience? Willpower? Not I, said some guy.

Hairway to Steven, is this a disappointment. To paraphrase the great
philosopher Homer (A.D.), Pink is muddy as a bowl of bad split pea
soup, and twice as hammy. Its thunderous opening pitch will get you
writhing in a greasy post-Boris (the album) lather, but pedestrian,
flat singing, mildly acceptable guitar work, and wavering production
values will leave you wishing for a rain delay thereafter. You won't hate
this album, as much of its contents are passable, you'll just wish for
more in light of Boris' lingering legend.

1. Farewell
2. Pink
3. Women on the Screen
4. Nothing Special
5. Blackout
6. Electric
7. Pseudo-Bread
8. Afterburner
9. Six, Three Times
10. My Machine
11. Just Abandoned My Self

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