A great Boris album comes in at least two flavours: titanic stoner suites of blustering guitars or, as the case seems to have been in recent years, smaller shots of gnarled brilliance. While the latter can come at the price of the truly breathless crescendos of which the legendary Japanese group have long established themselves as the masters, the fitful bursts of inspiration across their 27th album W easily rank as some of their finest work in many years – and perhaps even their most accessible to newcomers.
The album is also a handy reminder that, for every time Boris bring out the roots-grunge battering ram for the likes of ‘The Fallen’, they’re just as adept at quietly contemplative moments on the likes of ‘Icelina’. The album shines when the group coalesce these moods into snapshot versions of their long-form work. ‘Old Projector’, ‘I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…’ and this album’s nine-minute centrepiece ‘You Will Know (Ohayo Version)’ are slick microcosms of builds and drops, darkness and light, showing that Boris can achieve their special kind of transcendence without the side-long run-time.
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