BXI is a collaborative effort between Tokyo’s Boris and British vocalist Ian Astbury. The former are a prolific trio whose constantly evolving hybrid of heavy, avant-garde metal and psychedelic sounds has made them much revered abroad. The latter is best known as the frontman for The Cult and the former crooner for The Doors of the 21st Century (who later became Riders on the Storm), a rehashed version of Jim Morrison’s legendary 1960s and early ’70s act The Doors.
BXI’s four-track eponymous EP is a mediocre affair likely essential only to aging aficionados of The Cult and completists of Boris’ staggering discography. Still possessing a strong set of pipes, Astbury channels Morrison in the early moments of “Teeth and Claws” before assuming his own familiar singing style. Surprisingly, it is Boris that keep the straightforward mid-tempo cut from taking off. Boris’ 2008 “Smile” studio full-length presented a more accessible side of the band, but retained a fantastic experimental edge that was sadly missing as Boris play second fiddle to Astbury. The bland instrumentation continues on the late 1980s metal knockoff “We are Witches” and the distorted, brooding “Magickal Child.”
Astbury is absent on the “BXI” cover of The Cult classic “Rain” with Boris guitarist Wata instead assuming vocal duties. Replacing the track’s poppy postpunk sheen with fuzzy shoegaze-accented hard rock, her hypnotic whispers float above the music as the group let loose and finally seem to have some fun. The record’s best offering, Boris’ take of “Rain” comes awfully close to surpassing the power of the original.