Boris Smile

Beartooth EP

Written by: PP on 14/09/2009 20:08:48

Don't you just hate it when a singer of a band sounds precisely like another singer but you just can't wrap your head around which one? Welcome to my experience of Boris Smile's 2008 EP "Bear Tooth" (not to be confused with drone metallers Boris and their EP "Smile"), from the increasingly interesting Count Your Lucky Stars label. So don't expect me to draw any huge comparisons here. What we're dealing with here is delicate, soft and quiet indie rock combined with folksy singer-songwriter stuff, heavily driven forward by vocals rather than quirky instrumentation - created by a whopping 24 individuals (6 of them are in the band, rest are contributors). What that of course means though is that there's a shitload of instruments - all subtly used of course - in the mix: aside from the traditional guitar/bass/drums, you'll find things like trumpet, clarinet, tuba, violin, banjo, shakers, accordion, flute and many others in the mix, often making an entrance for just a brief moment before disappearing from the mix. We've previously seen many other artists incorporate unusual instruments into their arrangements, so you may have heard a similar sound before, on a Page Francis record for instance.

The opening track "Beartooth (Spooky Version)" offers one instace, however, where Boris Smile may just separate themselves from the rest. Like the title already suggests, the mood is spooky thanks to the unusually melancholic vocal performance of Wesley Chung. It's a shame that it's the only song on the record sounding this way, because it's about as different as Portugal. The Man were on their debut album in comparison to their peers, and as such, a refreshing piece in a saturated genre. After this song, Boris Smile focus instead on writing simple singer/songwriter tunes with a distinct folk rock element in them, ranging from the relaxing "Hour Of The Wolf" to the heartfelt ballad "Program Me To Love" about giving a robot human's feelings. Wall-E soundtrack anyone? The songs aren't decidedly bad, and Chung is able to attach lots of emotion to his voice in all songs, but I'm still struggling to remember many of the tracks especially after a few days pause in between listening sessions. More "Beartooth", less subtle indie rock next time, please!


Download: Beartooth (Spooky Version), Program Me To Love
For the fans of: Page Francis, Portugal. The Man, Oh No Oh My
Listen: Myspace

Release date October 2008
Count Your Lucky Stars

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