Boris is a chameleon amongst bands.

Despite their versatility and seeming desire to work with anyone (Torche, Merzbow and Sunn O))) just to name a few), Boris has managed to build a very distinct sound and have cultivated an identity that seems to draw a lot of attention to their collaborations. This tendency to spark partnerships has also enabled Boris to be remarkably prolific, and it’s possible that these creative pairings have kept the band interested in what they’re doing, and inspired.

BXI, their new four-song EP with The Cult’s Ian Astbury, finds Boris in back-up mode (mostly), almost as if they’re accommodating Astbury’s croon and toning themselves down for the sake of keeping him at the forefront. It is easy to forget that Boris is at the heart of the EP, songs like “Teeth And Claws” and “We Are Witches” somewhat conventional for the three-piece. I’m used to more mud.

But, Astbury has the dominance and charisma that a frontman requires and Boris seem content to carry him through. Wata gets to sing The Cult’s “Rain,” which, for a cover, proves the strongest track on the album, and “Magickal Child” offers the band more of an opportunity to shine and reverberate. With that in mind, I try to consider BXI more than just a mere joint excursion, but I do wonder if all the assets are being properly utilized.