While primarily known stateside for their acclaimed heavy metal albums, Japan’s Boris have a tendency to jump all over the musical genre map, occasionally dabbling in drone, punk rock, noise, sludge, and pop, drawing influences from any number of other styles (all of which present themselves on Heavy Rocks, the other new Boris disc released this week). Attention Please heads in yet another entirely new direction, with Boris’ lone female member, Wata, taking lead vocals on all of the album’s 10 tracks for the first time in the band’s long, packed recording history. Here, the band focuses on building atmosphere and creating interesting soundscapes rather than high-volume noise. This is rare: quiet Boris.
“Attention Please”, the album’s opening titular track, is a rhythmic, steady number that displays the record’s electronic leanings and hints back at trip-hop bands like Massive Attack and Portishead. On the next song, “Hope”, Boris wear their shoegaze influences so prominently that if it weren’t for the language barrier, it would be forgivable if Wata’s vocals were mistaken for Bilinda Butcher’s, with the instrumental sound calling up both My Bloody Valentine and Ride. The band seems to draw from a larger spectrum of 90’s femme-fronted alternative rock, with the band seeming to take cues from the Breeders on “Party Boy” and PJ Harvey on “Les Paul Custom ‘86”. While the styles change over the course of the album, the songs flow into each other smoothly. Interestingly, “Aileron” appears on both Attention Please and Heavy Rocks. On the former, it’s a beautiful, two-minute, finger-picked melody; on the latter, it’s slowed down to an overly long 13-minute sludge crawl.
Thanks to a more consistent thematic flow, Attention Please is notably stronger than its simultaneously released sister album, Heavy Rocks, and should have an extra appeal to fans of Boris’s breakout metal albums, Pink and Smile, and to those who are interested in hearing a strikingly different side of the band.