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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boris' best?, 23 Mar 2007
By 
J. W. Bassett (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rainbow (Audio CD)
Boris are seldom straightforward. Having released a forthright garage burner, Pink, the band re-released Dronevil, their two-disc answer to The Flaming Lips' Zaireeka, and the droning Sunn0))) collaboration, Altar, before allying themselves with Ghost's virtuoso axe-man, Michio Kurihara.

The combination of the Japanese three-piece and the Eastern hemisphere's most talented guitarist has led Boris to do something they've never done before: turn down the volume and produce a mellow psych-rock record.

Rafflesia begins with a short burst of bass feedback and a short drum fill that sounds unmistakably like Parting from Pink. It's probably the only similarity between the two albums. Droning, distorted, undermixed bass merges with slightly whiny, mellow vocals by Boris bassist Takeshi and minimal drums, until guitarist Wata and Kurihara join in for an extended instrumental jam about two minutes in. The combination of Wata's low, earthy guitar and Kurihara's starry hypnotic pitch-benders sets the tone for the rest of the album.

The title track flows neatly and quietly until Kurihara picks up his guitar and hammers the dreamy, slinky vocals by Wata (only her second vocal track in the band's catalogue), with some moody fretwork. Kurihara's bluesy style continues into Starship Narrator, with a blazing, mangled guitar solo.

My Rain is a short, damp interlude that precedes the dark-psych creepiness of Shine. With a foreboding picked acoustic guitar, minimal background percussion and Takeshi's lamenting vocals, it forms the closest approximation of Ghost's fulgid psych-folk.

The seven-minute You Laughed Like A Water Mark is Rainbow's longest track and a relaxed, Can-esque two-note groove by Wata is eventually steamrolled by Kurihara's rampant guitar.

The soaring, backwards played guitar on Fuzzy Reactor would've made for a great finale, but inevitably Boris push further. And harder. Sweet No. 1 - Rainbow's heaviest moment - is a rambling rock dervish, saturated with a stutter-step guitar strut. It's an ear-splitting cacophony before the mellow, instrumental outro of No Sleep Till I Become Hollow.

Rainbow stands testament to Boris' ability to master any genre they choose; having nailed drone, sludge, garage and now psych, where Boris choose to take us next is anyone's guess.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This might be Boris' most accessible work to date, 13 Jun 2007
This review is from: Rainbow (Audio CD)
Boris are an interesting bunch. Collaborating with a whole range of people over a series of records from the heavy drone of Sun O))) to, on Rainbow, one of Japan's most inventive guitarists, Michio Kurihara. Their previous "solo" album, Pink, was one of the highlights of last year. A mad, bad and raucous stream of drone and feedback that was as accessible as it was obscure. With Rainbow, they've stepped back from the brink and crafted, with the help of Kurihara, an album of understated presence and poise.

As opening track Rafflesia bursts into life with a wall of slurred guitars and half-wailed vocals, the guitars arch and swoop through the dense atmosphere of music. It's grand and surprisingly focused, there's a piercing sense of direction crafted by Kurihara's guitar whilst Boris make a swelling ocean of drums and guitars around it, gently coaxing it into life. The title track is a brooding piece of rock that reminds me of recent Sonic Youth records, a straightforward song with whispered vocals over shuffling drums and a solitary but gentle electric guitar. It seems like the quiet after the storm of the opening track. That is until more guitars creak into existence about half way through, a juttering and fuzzy angle of a solo that then gives way to the gentle shuffle again. Starship Narrator is a thumping 70's stomp of a track, the guitars are deep and dark in the mix, slowly chugging their way around the spaced out vocals and crashing drums. Kurihara's solo then smashes it's way to the fore, shredding its way through all the other music and dominating the song like King Kong over New York, faint chants seemingly worshipping this noise in the background. Once again this is followed by a gently beautiful track called My Rain. It's quiet guitars pick their way through it's meager two minutes, a backwards skip the only thing to disturb the still pool of music that they've created. The record hits these peaks and troughs of energy continually, ripping it up and calming it down. From the sprawling shoe-gaze of Shine to the prog-rock swirls of Fuzzy Reactor and finishing with the gentle stream of ...And, I Want that may start with a sinister piece of electronica, but sweeps into a piece of music that could soundtrack a love scene.

This might be Boris' most accessible work to date. There's nothing here to scare people and, as a means of an introduction into Boris, it's the best place to start. But, in the end, this is the records greatest failing. That's not to say that the record sucks, it's still great, it's just that, from Boris, you expect something a bit more, music that wants to crack open your skull and suck out what's inside. With Rainbow they've wrong footed everyone again and crafted a soundtrack to something completely different, a soundtrack to a summer's day or a Sunday morning. What they'll do next though, is anyone's guess.

Richard Hughes

[...]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boris Breakthrough, 2 Jun 2007
By 
HJ (London UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rainbow (Audio CD)
It's been suspected for some time that Japanese trio Boris have a wider frame of musical reference than your average stoner doom metal band & this latest "collaboration" album is fascinating in taking their influences in a very original direction. Yes there are the expected doomy drones, noise excursions & heavy metal outbursts, but many tracks have a stoner-funk rhythm, fragmented whispered vocals (in Japanese), a "prog" electronica background and piercing psychedelic electric guitar solos. Late Damo-era Can circa Future Days comes to mind, but there are other things going on. I believe special guest Michio Kurihara worships old Quicksilver records & his guitar solos do sound more Cippolina than Karoli. The elements may be "retro" but the end result doesn't sound retro or even pastiche, but very modern. This is true of the music, production, cover art, lyrics (translated or should that be "lost in translation" on sleeve) & titles (my favourite title being "No Sleep Till I Become Hollow"). "Rainbow" shows that diverse genres from rock history can be re-invented & put together anew in interesting ways. Great album - sunny blissed-out doom metal!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boris at their best!, 22 Sep 2007
By 
M. Broughton "Mazzmus" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rainbow (Audio CD)
I've just played this album through 3 times straight - it's beautiful. If 'Feedbacker's' your thing, it might take a while, and it's certainly not 'Pink', but it's worth every penny. Stunning!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous, 9 Sep 2007
This review is from: Rainbow (Audio CD)
After various albums encompassing varying styles & collaborations, Boris release 'Rainbow', a laid back, dreamy & accessible album. From reading their reviews, you'll probably of gathered that Boris are a Japanese trio who create drone, 70's pyschadelia, punk & Melvins-type fuzzy sludge. 'Rainbow' see's the band calm down a tad & invite an inventive guitarist into the fold, to create a smooth & enjoyable listening experience.

While looking for something different to add to my CD collection, this was the first Boris album I came across in the shop. Having heard of them, I decided to give it a go & was positively surprised at what I found. Kicking off in slowburn fashion, opener 'Rafflesia' has slow drumming with excessive feedback, presumably by Kurihara, a talented musician if ever there was one. Wailing vocals & sporadic drumming carry the track through building to a slow momentum before closing. The title track has the trio playing a quiet, jazzy melody with whispered vocals. Kurihara's fuzzy solo soon kicks in creating a bridge in the track & making the musicians intentions clear. This is definitely a collaboration in the true sense of the word. Kurihara provides many wonderful, meandering solo's which act as the main point to the majority of tracks, leaving Boris to prove their worth in terms of song structure & melody. The drumming, in particular is very strong & accomplished.

'Starship Narrator' is a repetitive & slyly progressive rhythm, breaking into a loud & frenzied Kurihara solo which gives way to the beautiful 'My Rain' a short & sumptuous instrumental worthy of any folk/electronica group. Following track 'Shine', a personal favourite, provokes thoughts of western movies & shimmering deserts. It's slow pace allows a thoughtful guitar progression amongst sparse tinny drums, whirling synth effects & melancholic vocals. Another beautiful song.

The bizzare titled 'You Laughed like a water mark' is another standout moment, particulary for the solid rhythm Boris create. Kurihara impresses again with the solo. The man sounds like playing is breaking his heart & is all the better for it. There is something also to be said for the lyrics on this album. They make me wish I could speak their language as many a time I've found myself substituting those written for my own version. The lyrics are printed in english on the inlay, but spoken in Japanese so memorising them seems a little pointless.

'Fuzzy Reactor' is probably the weakest track here, a fairly repetitive instrumental with a guitar sound reminiscent of 'The End' by the doors. It's not a bad track, just not as strong as the others especially as it leads into one of the more upbeat numbers. 'Sweet Number 1' starts off with 70's psychedelic guitars leading into vocals & a constant snare thump. The manic playing continues for the majority of the track allowing Kurihara (& Wata I think) to really cut lose. A corker which pratically collapses into a wall of feedback & distortion. Final track 'No Sleep Till I Become Hollow' is a very quiet, sullen piece closing the collection in thoughtful fashion.

All in all, this is well worth your time. As my first Boris album, I was initially a little underwhelmed, which I think maybe be partly the point. It has become though, one of my more listened to albums in recent months & I will definetly be investing in the band in the future. Add to all this some beautiful artwork & you've got a very solid release. A definite 4.5 stars.
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Rainbow
Rainbow by Boris (Audio CD - 2007)
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