ALBUM REVIEW: Boris – Lφve and Evφl

Whenever our house is made home by a particularly large member of the domestic arachnid species, it’s affectionately called Boris: largely due to the long-attributed name for such creatures, but also to my affection for the Japanese band of the same name. Latest albums Lφve and Evφl, originally released in August as tour merchandise, now make an appearance as a double album on general release (Third Eye Music).

Much like compatriots Mono, part of the delight of a Boris album is being unsure which identity of the multi-faceted unit you’re going to get: ‘Away From You’, the opening track of this wondrous hour, begins in customarily slow yet jangling fashion with Wata’s subtle but howling keyboard samples piercing a delicate, wistful vocal. When the soaring Post melodies kick in the song appears to assume an unbearably moving air until the listener realises that it was right there from the outset. If you’re on the vinyl version then the other track of side one, ‘Coma’, displays the band’s penchant for stirring Post / Drone sounds: guttural bass and rhythm tones scrape the victim’s belly lining whilst those sparing, harrowing chords ascend and tumble through the crashing creation of supernovae.

It’s a real high point, one that depicts perfectly the agony, the cataclysmic tumult that has been 2019, and setting the scene for side two’s solitary offering ‘Evol’: another sparse, sprawling monster, this time with its roots in tribal rhythms and rattling resonance. That brooding sensitivity remains, however, with as much ethereal subtlety in its vocal and string inflections as there is portent in its sampled squalls. The heart-wrenching emotion of the mid-point, pure 80s Rock with sheer humanity bleeding from it, enhances the aching, bittersweet nature: the whole another slice of harsh, memorable beauty.

The second platter commences with the huge expanse that is ‘Uzume’: all elongated, whomping chords and squealing synthetics, creating a fearful identity as the savage Drone punches holes in the sparkling, ever-harder protesting atmospheres. The ensuing ‘Love’ is not, as one would expect, a mirror of its ‘Evol’ counterpart: instead of being a blend of hypnotic chants and eerie soundscapes, surrounded by a pummelling mass of slow rhythm; delicious, Desert-flavoured lead solos; and off-tune harmonies introducing tense, unsettling strings. The final stretch of this emotive journey begins with the gentle, haunting Post strains of ‘In The Pain(t)’ before closing with the epic, shuddering ‘Shadow Of Skull’, its coda a wrecking ball to the nervous system: the beauty with the beast, the light dancing with the monstrous, lumbering shade, both aspects appearing together with seamless wonder.

Few bands can capture their own culture’s regeneration and be catapulted forth from its wings toward the heavens. Rarely does such an entity give that renewed zeitgeist a tweak of its main engines in the process, but the ability and intent of Boris to add melody of such emotion to its weight regularly shows such innovation. Lφve & Evφl continues to show that their creativity is rivaled only by a maintained, revitalised relevance to the modern-day.

8 / 10