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Boredoms - Super  CD (album) cover





4.05 | 29 ratings

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4 stars Rating: A-

Boredoms rank up with Talk Talk (among others) as having made one of the most dramatic shifts in sound across their careers. From their early noise rock pioneering days of banging on whatever they could reach, screaming maniacally, and somehow remaining astoundingly listenable to their more recent "blissout" albums (for lack of a better word), Boredoms have always been one of the most engaging, relevant bands in modern music, and perhaps Japan's greatest contribution to the music world.

To prolong the Talk Talk comparison just a moment longer, Boredoms, like Talk Talk, got better after their shift. Talk Talk moved from awesome synth pop (their first three albums) to sublime, perfect post-rock masterpieces (their latter two albums). Boredoms, in recreating Krautrock on such albums as Vision Creation Newsun and the more pertinent (to this review) Super Ae, have shown themselves far more mature than when they were the best noise rock band the world had ever seen. In addition, they are far more listenable, especially to those not prepared for the mind-exploding onslaught of Pop Tatari.

More than that, though, their latter period captures them at their best musically. Their earlier records had the tendency to wander around and feel somewhat incohesive at times, but that's not at all the case on Super Ae (or Vision Creation Newsun). From start to finish, this album not only lacks any hints of dullness or meandering, it comes together as a single, unified whole. It's hard to imagine "Super Are", where the Krautrock elements first start taking shape, without the fuzzy guitars "Super You" preceding it. Of course, part of why this album is so good is that every track is a winner. The simultaneously manic and mantra-like chants of "Super Are You" perfectly embody the wild and yet captivating, trance-inducing sound Boredoms have adopted. The fantastic groove of "Super Coming" could hold its own against any Can groove of old, and the eclectic, noisy "Super Shine", well, shines.

The absolute highlight of this album, though, and perhaps the pinnacle of Boredoms' long and illustrious career, is the glorious "Super Going". Driven by a relentless drum groove with noisy guitar outbursts that form the perfect atmosphere, "Super Going" embodies all the ideals of the Krautrock greats, but in a far more structured setting than the extended jams of Can and Amon Duul II. In many senses, it's Boredoms' answer to NEU!'s "Hallogallo". Similarly drum driven (and of similar length), "Super Going" doesn't evoke the lazy pastures of "Hallogallo", but, with similar musical aesthetics as "Hallogallo", captures the essence of running without stopping for anyone or anything, just running until drenched in sweat and collapsed from exhaustion.

And that's really what Super Ae is: a marathon that's both taxing and invigorating, that provides an adrenaline rush that keeps you going until the end, and that is undeniably satisfying. I honestly don't know what to call it. It's not Krautrock (and not just because Boredoms' are Japanese, not German); it just doesn't *sound* like Can, NEU!, Faust, or Amon Duul II. I've toyed with calling it "blissout" music, and that certainly captures the experience of listening to it, but unfortunately the sound. To some extent, I suppose "space punk" would fit, though that still doesn't seem right. Whatever it is, though, it is Boredoms at their very best (alongside Vision Creation Newsun), and Boredoms at their best is just about music at its best. Absolutely, undeniably essential.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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