BOREDOM, LIKE THE Boredoms, has a bad reputation. Yet a mortuary's worth of the industry's dead music can be exactly the necessary catalyst to send one looking for something with a spark of life to it. Nonetheless, rock mags have gone out of their way to discourage the intrepid listener from trying out the Boredoms. I wasn't fazed when scribes tagged them "unlistenable," but when one critic described them as "scatological," that almost turned me off--I changed enough diapers in my youth to lose any vestigial fascination I might have had with poo. Yet using music critics to keep easily grossed-out listeners at arm's length has always been the Boredoms' intention. Frightful reviews shield the Japanese avant-gardists from the gawkers who cover their ears at the first intimation of their machine-gun drumming, scream-chanting, and guitar grating.
Those who can read about the Boredoms and still say, "Caca be damned!" will be rewarded grandly. Since their 1990 debut Soul Discharge, drummer Yoshimi has been loudly blending taiko drumming with John Bonham's percussive flogging. Meanwhile, guitarist Yamomotor has been thrashing out riffs that sound like he's dropping cinder blocks off the Foshay Tower. And vocalist eYe has been bellowing through a barrage of electronics. Yet as much as the Boredoms are noisy, they are also inventive. The fact that 1998's psychedelic album Super A(r)e shows up in many used-CD bins does not mean that the band should be filed with other bodily-function bands like Coil and Blink-182.
Vision Creation Newsunheads toward loftier but no less visceral territory than the Boredoms' other boisterous albums. Building on Super A(r)e's twisted experimentation, Vision takes its anthemic thud into more propulsive and trancelike directions. Stuttering electronics flow into phased vocals, then into delicate acoustic guitars, and finally into a chopped-up, mangled bassline from "Journey to the Center of Your Mind." Crickets chirp and bongos pulsate delicately in the background, while the band vamps on a couple of chords that sound like a mutant version of the Byrds' "So You Wanna Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star."
The Boredoms have not used Vision Creation Newsun to abandon their earlier wall-of-noise scare tactics. They've simply changed their approach, adding more drone and sustain to their guitar distortions. The result is another bracing conglomeration of old rock, new beats, and timeless seared-synapse mania. And like its predecessors, the album is stunning in every sense of the word. No shit.
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