Album Review
Boris Smile - Chapter 1 Album Cover

Boris Smile - Chapter 1

Reviewed by
Boris Smile - Chapter 1
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: June 15, 2007
Chapter 1 is a testament to patience and perseverance. Long Beach, California based Boris Smile had originally planned to record a ten song debut full-length in 2005 over the course of three days, however the sessions proved to be unsuccessful and some of the songs were released as an EP. Rather than feeling discouraged, the band simply took a few years to work and become more comfortable with the songs before heading into the studio once again to produce Chapter 1.

The album begins with “Conversations”, a song that combines what sound like home movie clips with acoustic guitar, flute, and string accompaniment serving as subtle backdrop, similar to the half way point of The Early November’s “A Mountain Range In My Living Room” (though the music is vastly different). “Adventures With Rockets” is the first “traditional” song on the album and begins with subtle percussion and catchy guitar melodies that mesh well with Wesley Chung’s vocals. The song is easily one of the catchiest songs on the record and will make it hard for the listener to get to the next track. Following the pop-leaning “Adventures With Rockets” is “Home (Folk In G Sharp)”, a more subdued track that showcases the folk sound the band occasionally meshes with its pop sensibilities over the course of the album’s eleven tracks. Although the band’s pop sensibilities are well developed and make the band instantly likeable, I was more drawn to the band's loose, mature folk sound.

“Goodnight Moon” is a slow moving song that benefits from the interplay of the hushed male and female vocals and the perfect placement of piano and string accents. Boris Smile follow up the subdued beauty of “Goodnight Moon” with the much more upbeat and pop-leaning “The Talk”, which tells the story of a boy asking his father to sit him down for, well, “the talk”. This track is the first in what I like to call the “befuddling trio”, because the tracks are musically interesting and enjoyable, but the lyrics come across as juvenile and kind of weaken the tracks as a result. “The Talk” covers the awkward sex talk between father and song, “Cheaters Never Prosper” deals with the topic of cheating in school, and “Shake Your Booty” pretty much explains itself. However, the full-bodied “Emergencies” more than makes up for it and finds Chung channeling his love for Ben Folds. This track is refreshing as most of Chapter 1’s tracks had been mostly acoustic centered affairs and now they are finally plugging in the guitar and fleshing out their sound and adding a slight rock edge into their repertoire. Boris Smile close out their debut much the way they began, with the seven minute “Smile Once In A While”, which follows a similar format to “Conversations”.

As I walked outside today into a beautiful and warm spring day, I realized that summer is lurking just around the corner. Every time the air begins to get a little bit warmer and I think about summer, the things that come to mind are all of the great memories from back home - hanging out with friends all night, backyard cookouts, and trips to the beach. Boris Smile and their brand of carefree and playful pop-laced folk represent the feeling I get when the first days of warm weather arrive and I begin to think of all the memories from multiple summers past. Although the lyrics on a certain songs are slightly juvenile and drop said tracks a few notches, Chapter 1 is still a fun record that shows a lot of promise from this young California based band. I have heard a few tracks from the band’s latest release and it seems they have remedied some of the things that weakened Chapter 1, so I look forward to hearing what this band may have in store for the future.

Standout Tracks "Adventures With Rockets", "Home (Folk In G Sharp)", and "Emergencies"

RIYL Page France, Ben Folds, and making friends

This review is a user submitted review from Rich Duncan. You can see all of Rich Duncan's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6
03:39 AM on 04/11/08
bippity boppity
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Praetor's Avatar
haha, I thought this was going to be a review of the new Boris album.
01:20 PM on 04/11/08
Rich Duncan
Album Reviewer
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Rich Duncan's Avatar
haha, I thought this was going to be a review of the new Boris album.

Hahah yeah, when I announced I had this review coming up many other people thought the same thing.
02:42 PM on 04/11/08
Registered User
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ohgentlenight's Avatar
totally sweet band! amazing!
12:09 AM on 04/12/08
couch coaches dot company
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TheOtherAndrew's Avatar
I'm listening to Home on their MySpace right now. This sounds really appealing to me.
09:42 PM on 04/16/08
We're a band.
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remoteCONTROL's Avatar
yes!! wes was talking about how he was trying to get a review on here and im really happy to see they finally got it! besides this incredibly upbeat record (recorded themselves), the people involved with this band are genuinely some of the nicest folks whose happiness shines through their songs. go to itunes and download as many of their songs as you can afford, you wont be dissappointed.

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