oes this one ever start out curiously: elegiac rockist riffs, triumphal drums, an oddly Silly Putty’d simulacrum of Stephen Malkmus’ scrotum-tugging whine. The normally ebullient guitarist Wata is rendered abnormally subtle, sending soft guitar sparks into Atsuo’s soft cymbal sizzle: Flying Saucer Attack grounded by gobs of hash. What must be a piss take on “post-rock” collides nosily into the type of Akarma’d Brillo pad scuzz one’s used to hearing from Boris.
Pink eschews slow for speed; vocals are still sweaty, sultry. Guitar is overdriven and caustic: Blue Cheer by way of Mudhoney—with nods aplenty to Buffalo, Jerusalem, Sir Lord Baltimore: surely the same sort of linear filth that Julian Cope’s Brain Donor has harnessed, perfected, and laid to waste. Yet, with Pink, each track ups the ante, pleased with piling on the sonic punches, even if the whole thing begins to annoyingly wane into pure white abstraction, which provides a nearly acceptable segue way into discussion re: color.
Film has held its share of hue obsession. Before Kieslowski’s Bleu, Blanc, and Rouge, there was Sjoman’s curious Blue and Yellow; in the midst of all five films there was the besotted Mark E. Smith, waxing the colored inquisitive with “I am Curious, Orange.” The Band unleashed Music from Big Pink; Pop eccentric Tori Amos scuttled Under the Pink, and before either polar opposite settled into its axial points, primordial psychers Twink rouged hippie hypothalamuses with Think Pink. Never mind Drake’s sad-sacked Pink Moon, Mancini’s Pink Guitar, Wire’s felled Pink Flag draped over Planet P Project’s messianic Pink World, a conflated mythological mess whose utilization of the cut white color speaks to neither socialism or the stirred emotional state that is “tickled pink.”
Prickled nerves and spasmodic movements aside, Boris’ contribution to the artistic color field is soporifically monochromatic: Ryman on Risperdal. The band’s infatuation with kitschy artistic jest—lame takes on the aforementioned Nick Drake and even Venom’s Welcome to Hell – does little to empower their sound, instead weighing the “message” down, a theme already bloated on its own novelty. A step towards even more arbitrary appellation, Pink is neither a step in a [nearly] “right” direction nor a meaningful action altogether. Where Tori Amos’ Under the Pink inspired online confessional prattle about lyrical semiotics, Mancini’s Pink Guitar was at once a reductive statement about the instrument utilized and also a pun on the panther theme located therein. Yet, Boris’ color preference is unfortunately all about irony, a concept that has done little to nothing for hair rockers, instead conjuring images of Pavement’s preppies, all chattering teeth, whoopee cushions, a joy buzzer’s dull vibrato.
Musically, Pink is all about mining the capabilities of each musician, which is certainly one way to make a record, and often times an effective way—see Trans Am’s superb Surrender to the Night. Artists should not only be encouraged to try different approaches, they should wholly instigate them their selves. Yet, Pink sounds like nothing so much than a baggy grouping of those “different approaches,” predictably coming off in varying degree, as a few songs here are either the de facto soundtrack for pool-side summer degradation; a few there are little more than a bore. Color me unimpressed.