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Japan's Boris has proved several times that they can bend the sound of their instruments to their will. The end result will always fry your mind. Sometimes it's guitars spewing layers of violent feedback or its MC5-emulating garage rawk. But on Rainbow, Boris unplugs the distortion pedals and delves headfirst into late '60s psychedelia. And like a few other Boris releases, this is collaborative effort — the band enlists Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara, whose own brand of prog-rock madness has turned a head or two.

Whereas Boris' previous release was a giant slab of slowly moving drone, dragging its feet as it crushed everything, Rainbow moves a little more, um, benevolently, embracingly. Guitars lurk beneath shades of reverb, churning out rich jangles of pop melodies. Vocalist-bassist Takeshi sits in the shadows, softly breathing lullabies while drummer Atsuo leads each track with each expertly placed snare hit and crash. You might mistake this for a Japanese Doors. While the band churns, Kurihara will step in every now and again with a skeleton solo, wrapped in fuzz, howling while the band quietly stirs underneath. Each track flows this way until the final moment, where it all dies out. Of all Boris releases, Rainbow is likely the most essential and the band's greatest musical statement. Who knows what's next.

Kent Alexander writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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