Boris Smile - Young and It Feels So Good
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: April 19, 2008
“Keep true to the dreams of your youth.” This little snippet of wisdom came courtesy of a fortune I pulled out of my fortune cookie earlier this week and while I do not suggest seeking the answers to life’s questions from a mass manufactured snack food, this sentiment perfectly describes Long Beach based Boris Smile’s new album Young and It Feels So Good. Shortly after wrapping up the recording to their debut effort Chapter 1, the members of Boris Smile began work on this eighteen track album of b-sides and lo-fi original recordings. Frontman/guitarist Wesley Chung produced, engineered, and mixed the entire album in his living and dining room over the period of six months.
Although it would be a stretch to classify Young and It Feels So Good as a concept album, the album does have a theme and is broken down into four categories of youth - celebration, social separation, the “culture of cool”, and growth. Opening the album is the title track from the celebration section, “Young And It Feels So Good”, which is a subdued, acoustically driven track. This track demonstrates the more reserved side of Boris Smile and introduces the listener to the band’s sound without giving away all of the tricks up their sleeves just yet. “Seasons” picks up the pace of the album and is one of the more energetic and driving songs in Boris Smile’s repertoire. The buzzing guitars and a fuzzy production lend this song an edge that makes it stand out and shine among the pop leaning tracks that dominate the record. “Seasons” is not the band’s only foray into more aggressive fare as proven by the grimy, garage-rock tinged “Megan Eve Of Destruction”.
“Home [Sing Along]” is a re-worked version of the song “Home (Folk in G Sharp)” from the band’s debut effort. This twang tinged track is very similar to the original version however this time Wesley Chung has more of his friends and band mates singing along (hence the change in the title). “Adventures With Rockets”, another Chapter 1 track, receives a sonic facelift and makes an appearance as “Las Aventuras con Cohetes”. While the original version was an upbeat pop gem with an extremely infectious chorus, “Las Aventuras con Cohetes” sports a much slower tempo and is played in a lounge music style. Although it was an interesting take on the original, I must say this is one of the few tracks on the album I find myself skipping over. Another similarity between the two records is the presence of interludes that mesh instrumental arrangements by the band with interviews and recordings of other activities.
Young and It Feels So Good finds Boris Smile stretching their creative muscles and experimenting with a plethora of styles throughout the album. While this sort of approach would make most albums seem haphazardly thrown together, Boris Smile somehow manage to pull it off and create a cohesive and entertaining record. The main problem with Chapter 1 was that a few tracks on the album had lyrics that came across as slightly cheesy, but for the most part Young and It Feels So Good avoids that pitfall and also shows an improvement on the collective’s already impressive musicianship. One of the most endearing things about this band is the fact that its not a small group of friends or a band led by one person who writes all the parts, it is a massive group of friends (twenty-one people were listed as contributors) who all add their own personal touches to every track. While Young and It Feels So Good still has the rough around the edges recording approach of Chapter 1 on some tracks, the album shows this group of friends further building upon their potential and it will be interesting to see what this group comes up with next.
I thought Chapter 1 was definitely a decent debut but had some flaws that needed to be worked out. It sounds like they haven't fixed everything I wanted quite yet but I would still like to check this one out.