Boris – Heavy Rocks (Sargeant House Records)

Heavy Rock seems like Boris’ attempt to confuse as many people as possible. First, it’s being released the same day as another Boris album,  Attention Please (which I prefer) guaranteeing that less people will hear it. Second, Boris already released an album titled Heavy Rocks in 2002. You could also easily confuse it with the band’s Japanese Heavy Rock Hits vinyl single series. The music itself is confusing too. The album begins with a Sabbath-y psych-metal stomper called “Riot Sugar” (featuring Ian Astbury on backing vocals) but then an identity crisis ensues. Just who are Boris on this album? Are they Dinosaur Jr.-esque guitar manglers heard on the quizically titled “Leak-Truth,yesnoyesnoyes-?” Are they the manic thrash titans heard on  “GALAXIANS” (yes, all capital letters) and the 90-second gonzo Bay Area speed blitz of “Czechoslovakia?” Are they purveyors of drone-rock as heard on the lengthy songs “Missing Pieces” and “Aileron” (which, in keeping with the theme of confusion, is also the title of a completely unrelated song on Attention Please)? Or are they all of these things, and don’t care about making an album that sounds unified? Perhaps the answer lies in the song “Window Shopping,” which combines ripping Melvins-esque grunge with answering machine messages and a chorus of Wata singing “Doo-Doot-Doo”? Then again, perhaps there is no answer.

Boris – Attention Please (Sargeant House Records)

Boris are a band that likes to mix things up. Pick up any of the Japanese group’s many albums from the past fifteen years and you’re just as likely to hear shoegaze and hardcore as you are sludgy doom metal, or a 20+ minute drone instrumental. Attention Please finds some new areas to explore by giving the spotlight over to their guitarist, Wata, who sings every song on the album. Just two songs on the album, “Hope” and “Spoon,” sound like typical Boris in hard rock mode, only with Wata’s vocals (which remind me of Kazu from Blonde Redhead). The rest favors dark and claustrophobic sounds not too far removed from Tricky. This works well on “Party Boy,” “Tokyo Wonderland.”  However, more formless songs like “You” and “Hand In Hand” cause  the album to drag.