More suspension than solution, Rainbow, a collaborative effort between drone/blues/metal pioneers Boris and psych-rock veteran Michio Kurihara (Ghost, White Heaven, the Stars), strikes a rare balance. I can’t be sure, but this sounds like a concept album; with flowing in cinematic passages, each melody invokes character and drama.
More song oriented than many Boris records, Rainbow opens with the roaring, shoe gazing “Rafflesia,” which is reminiscent of Pink Floyd (on more lively hallucinogens) but filled with the trademark ripples and rumbles we’ve come to expect.
It isn’t until the plaintive title track that Kurihara’s guitar becomes the presence that it will be for the rest of the album. From that moment on, he’s engaged in a reverse haunting of sorts; where Boris plays ethereal narrator, Kurihara brings fire and earth, a dirty sense of solidity to the unfolding narrative. What should be an uneasy mix is surprisingly easy on the ears: The result of these dueling impulses is a cycle of nine tracks that soothes as it assaults.
“Sweet No. 1” is such a raucous, barnstorming psychedelic seizure that even the most meditative soul would be hard pressed not to jump about (or at least pace insistently) to it. Respite is found thereafter in the crystalline “No Sleep Till I Become Hollow.”
Evoking classic rock, metal, psychedelia, and the avant-garde in ways that could appeal to those who like none of the above, Rainbow is a welcome tonic.