BXI – BXI
Release Date: 2010Aug17 (US)
Label: Southern Lord
BORIS are one of the nearest and dearest artists to my heart. If it were not for these three Japanese “rockers” (for lack of a better term), my love for the experimental likely would not exist. So, imagine my excitement when I see them paired with such a legendary figure as Ian Astbury of The Cult. Granted, it is one of the least likely collaborations I would have ever imagined (much moreso than Plant and Krauss), but it’s hard to pass up something with such an odd fusion of sounds. When I think about it hard, it makes lots of sense, given the fact that both bands go for the “wall of guitar sound” effect, but still. This one was out of left field, in my mind.
With all of that said, the best way to summarize this EP is by saying “holy shit, it works!” It’s almost as if they are scientists finding success from an experiment expected to fail. The things that most shine are Astbury’s voice, which is still deep and absolutely wonderful, and Wata’s gorgeous guitar work. Here, she seriously channels Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) with both texture and technique. Not only does she lay the distortion on like blankets in 50-below weather, the glide guitar that defined Loveless is fairly prominent here.
As far as the “I” in BXI is concerned, he is an incredibly vital part to this collaboration’s sound. He croons, bellows, and even cracks his voice to perfectly mesh with the soundscapes constructed here. Strangely enough, however, the one song that Astbury does not lend his voice to is the one originally performed by his band, “Rain”, which is a cover of a Cult tune, albeit with plenty of BORISness injected in. In place of his voice, we hear Wata, whose repressed, lullaby-esque vocals have always been some of my favorite. Surprisingly, they match the mood of the song well, despite its high energy.
I don’t know exactly what the writing process was like, and how much each party’s opinion weighed in the decision-making, but I’ll be damned if anyone could possibly call this a bad team. All three original pieces of music here are top-notch and, while not blisteringly heavy, manage to get the head banging whilst relaxing the heartbeat. Go figure.
Try 1, 2, 3
01. Teeth and Claws
02. We Are Witches
03. Rain (The Cult cover)
04. Magickal Child