CD REVIEW: Boris “Attention Please”

Japanese experimental band Boris, famous amongst fans for constantly changing their musical style, has released three new albums in 2011. Attention Please was the last of the three, the seventeenth studio album in total and the first to feature guitarist/vocalist Wata’s vocals on every track.

Attention Please opens with the title track presenting a moody atmosphere- a metronomic drum beat with muted bass and synth, sharp guitar for texture and startlingly clear vocals. The song culminates with the addition of a psychedelically-styled guitar that bends and twists under Wata’s soft words. “Hope” begins more aggressively and an unsettling yet uplifting chorus of strings rises out of the murky guitar and bass, further enhancing the softness of the vocals.

The driving bass groove of “Party Boy” is a welcome change from the muddled-sounding instruments of the other tracks, giving the album the feel of complete diversity that is so akin to Boris. “See You Next Week” begins sounding like an industrial factory, giving new meaning to the title and continues wildly along until its conclusion. “Tokyo Wonder Land” consists of crooning vocals, incredible use of percussion to build melody and the anticipation that something will happen- taking the form of a deliciously distorted guitar and excellent use of panning between speakers.

“Aileron” is a sludgy dream-scape and a nice follow-up to the previous track. “Les Paul Custom ’86” is reminiscent of traditional rock riffs, with a nice touch of experimental vocals. “Spoon” is something different altogether, with a more recognizable guitar structure and a rock influence set to Wata’s ethereal vocals. “Hand in Hand” is a beautiful conclusion to the album, dreamy and soft, marked with haunting tremolos and soaring vocals, but still retaining Boris’ trademark edge.

“Attention Please” wades through a dimly lit swamp where guitar, strings, bass and synth all congregate to throw a party with an industrial edge. Sometimes, the atmosphere feels a little too muddled and melted together, making it difficult to really get into and leaving one feeling like they’re lost in a thick haze. This paves the way for poignant moments of revelation and clarity, such as when the fog of rolling bass folds back to reveal pure, clean sound.

Although a deviation from their previous works like Pink or Feedbacker, Boris fans will not be disappointed, especially ones who enjoyed the Rainbow album with Michio Kurihara.

Score: 8.5 / 10