Boink's sound is defined by immediacy. The Portland supergroup's songs are urgent, which is a direct reflection of the fact that all six members are incredibly busy with other projects.
Featuring Noelle Magia and Paul Billy Sobiech of Havania Whaal, Shana Lindbeck of Bitch'n, Michael Eff and Rebecca Rasmussen of the Wild Body and Papi Fimbres of countless other bands, Boink is a diversely talented group of players who are used to controlling every aspect of their other projects. But for Boink, all the members wholly gave themselves over to collaboration.
"Because of the fact that everyone is in all these other projects, we knew we had to sort of write relatively quickly in the limited time we had together at Paul and Noelle's place at Puddletown [Studios]," Rasmussen says.
The band's resulting debut, Something Colorful for Sure, drops via Nadine Records on Dec. 7, and the album release show is this week at Bunk Bar. The seven-song set is a thrilling record of hard-to-pigeonhole rock. Psych, punk, hardcore and cumbia all color the sound on Something Colorful. It's a fascinating amalgamation of influences that's both freewheeling and technically proficient.
Along with the immediacy the project required, an ethos of relinquishing control and making way for total collaboration fills the album. The songs have a certain balance to them, with each member grabbing ahold of the listener's attention over the course of a single song, a factor that rewards repeat listenings.
"Papi and Shana would come with some things beforehand, but mostly we got together and sort of jammed the songs out as a band," says Rasmussen. "That was sort of the spirit of the project." Fimbres echoes this sentiment, calling the band "more of a communal thing where we join other bands to better ourselves as musicians."
Songs like "Dark Matter" feature inventive guitar playing that drips with languid psychedelia one moment, and then joins the percussion of Fimbres and Lindbeck's marimba for furious, sudden bursts of complex music that's not quite punk. When paired with Magia's almost unhinged, stream-of-conscious sermons, the result is a sound not unlike the fantastically out-there post-punk of Priests.
Due to mutual respect and a willingness to relinquish independent creative control, the tunes came easier than one might think. Each member of Boink mentions the liberating feeling of trusting how natural the collaborative effort felt. "Pretty much every song on the album was born on that first night we got together," says Magia. "Since we have so much creative control in our other projects, we enjoyed letting go and having the music evolve itself. It's like that ooze from Ghostbusters—it just is."
The jazzlike sessions occurred during the eerie chaos of the Eagle Creek Fire. It's easy to imagine that the chaos informed the record, but Magia says that wasn't the case for the lyrics, which she largely improvised. "All the lyrics I wrote for Boink are very stream of consciousness," she says. "I wanted my vocals for this project to be sort of incantation-y and chant-y as opposed to the sort of short stories I write lyrically with other projects."
Still, the outside world was bound to inform some of the record's sound. "There's been so much crazy political stuff going on throughout the formation of this band, I think inevitably that's going to seep in," says Rasmussen. "There's definitely been times where we've come together after certain things have transpired and that made the collective energy really intense, so I think we used performing as release almost."
The record certainly feels like a release. The songs on Something Colorful for Sure are imbued with a sort of joyously defiant rebellion that almost forces the listener into movement. Sobiech's basslines are ominous and buoyant and propel songs like "Nod at God" forward while the rest of the band goes casually apeshit around him, and Magia implores that someone, perhaps God, "Look at me please/Look at me please/Look at me!"
The celebratory, controlled chaos of Boink is well-suited for a live setting, a sort of clarion call to rage against the dying of the light, and the band's shows are jubilant, rowdy affairs.
"I think there's a punk ethos to what we're doing that's sort of a reaction to what's going on in the world," Rasmussen says. "To celebrate that energy of having fun and being human, and I think there's a lot of that in the music. Reveling in our culture and music and the good side of things."
SEE IT: Boink plays Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave., bunksandwhiches.com, with Nasalrod and Sea Moss, on Saturday, Dec. 1. 9:30 pm. $8. 21+.