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Attention Please

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Album Review

Attention Please is one of two simultaneously released albums by Japan's Boris on the Sargent House imprint in 2011. The other is Heavy Rocks—not related to the 2002 album. It is also one of four planned full-lengths by the group during the calendar year. (The others are a collaboration with Masami Akita — aka Merzbow — entitled Klatter, and New Album, which mixes tracks from Attention Please and Heavy Rocks with other new material. The latter two are available only in Japan.) Until 2008's predictable Smile, Boris was always unpredictable. One minute they would be spiraling out of control with paint-peeling guitar histrionics, while another showcased walls of feedback and distorted percussion interspersed with moments of almost total silence. Attention Please comes as a very noteworthy and distinctive album in Boris' large and labyrinthine catalog, whether one likes it or not. It is their first to feature vocals on all tracks by lead guitarist Wata. The music is nocturnal, relatively slinky, and very atmospheric. The band channels Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation in tracks like the opening title number, and the more driving, discordant overtones in "Hope," while the gorgeous "Spoon" is a wonderfully melodic tune with an uptempo shoegaze feel. "Les Paul Custom '86" employs electronics, and a staccato -driven rhythm section to a jarring if danceable result. "Party Boy" is a chugging, four-on-the-floor guitar, bass'n'drum stepper with a razor-blade analog synth careening across the middle section. Despite its guitar squall and squelchy noise effects, "Tokyo Wonder Land" is a dancefloor-oriented psych anthem. "You" would have been at home on the more experimental side of the 4AD imprint — or the more accessible side of Sub Rosa — in the '90s. "Aileron" is a brief acoustic guitar instrumental that actually appears — differently of course — on both albums. In sum, Attention Please, with Wata's haunting vocals at the fore, is the most unusual and easily approachable recording on Boris' shelf, if not its best.


Formed: 1994 in Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Japanese cult favorite sludge/doom rock trio Boris take their name from a song on grunge godfathers the Melvins' Bullhead album. They also have a lot in common with the Melvins musically, including a fondness for heavily downtuned guitar/bass tones and exceedingly slow tempos. But they also incorporate elements variously drawn from other sources, including psychedelic rock, punk, noise, minimalism, pure sludge-drone music à la Earth, and more. Also, despite the unpretentious psychedelic/stoner rock...
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Attention Please, Boris
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