Boris & Ian Astbury - BXI
Boris AND Ian Astbury? Together? When I first heard about this proposed collaboration I thought it was just another one of those silly internet rumours. But lo and behold, the four track EP BXI is upon us. And it’s alright. The major problem with BXI is that Boris seem to be on their best behaviour. No outrageously loud guitars, bonkers drumming, or comical yelps – gone is the madcap heart that is Boris and raises them so far above their peers.
Of course, Ian Astbury is on fine form throughout, starting with the biting howls of ‘Teeth And Claws’ with its strangely relaxed guitars at odds with the violent lyrical themes; at the other end of the scale, and CD, he gives a more sensitive and almost fragile vocal performance over the droning, haunting ‘Magickal Child’ as it draws out and decays in waves of emotional hurt and pain.
The version of The Cult’s ‘Rain’ is an audacious move, with Boris guitarist Wata instead singing with her ghostly ethereal voice barely penetrating her own guitar’s wall of sound. I imagine Cult devotees will immediately baulk at this rendition, but after a few spins it does begin to make some sense and ultimately becomes a very good reinterpretation of a rather brilliant song.
But the undoubted class act here is ‘We Are Witches’, a rollicking slab of squealing guitars and barked vocals all underpinned by a driving, snarling riff of monumental proportions; Boris’ self-imposed shackles seem at their loosest as they begin to sound more like themselves, whilst Astbury goes through from menacing growl to all-out belting in a heartbeat. At a mere four songs, it seems a little premature to judge this partnership, but I’m certain we have not heard the best of this coming together. Fingers crossed.