Boris may be slowing down the tempo, but not their progression through the music rabbit hole. Attention Please, which came out this May, is a blend of J-Pop, traditional high-glam electronica and yes, the bands’ trademark shoegaze here and there, just in case the listener forgets for a moment this is the same band that brought you the heavy storm that was Smile. Though most will see it as a break from recent material, it actually just shows off the band’s ability to successfully move through any genre or style, shedding it like last night’s party dress, and kicking it into a pile with the others.
The biggest plus to Attention Please is getting to hear guitarist Wata’s beautiful silky vocals throughout the entire album. Songs like “Party Boy” make listeners wonder why it wasn’t there before. The injection of English words sung so sumptuously makes them as exotic as the Japanese lyrics. The title track seems filled with bodies crowding the dance floor, bouncing neon baselines obliterating everything the cocktails didn’t. And yet, if one reads the lyrics, it’s about being delayed for your flight; “attention please” is not a cry for help, it’s the blasted airport staff ruining your day.
One of the tightest songs on the album is “Hope”. Take out the vocals, and it’s Smashing Pumpkins circa Machina I. The orchestral tracks, the tinge of heartbreak that’s missing from most angsty, moody rock of today is here, sans the pretension. This is music that should have happened 10 years ago, before the world had a name for acts like The Sleepy Jackson and people forgot New Order. A weird place? Yes. But that’s Boris.
Attention Please was released simultaneously with Heavy Rocks, which is also the name of a previous release. If that combined with the style shift isn’t enough to confuse many, the fact that there exists vamped-up, much more alive versions of several Attention Please songs on a Japanese-only version frustrates most. The songs are beefier, more like what one would expect from Boris. But, in the end, this version it is what it is: A great frolic through the glittery, trashy, magical void that lies on the far end of the J-Rock universe.
Written by Nicole Banister