Saturday, 19 June 2010

Sonic Boom - Spectrum

Sonic Boom's first solo album after leaving Spacemen 3 continues in pretty much the same vein, and has some really great stuff on it. The kind of wasted-on-drugs/gospel vein runs through virtually all of Sonic and Jason's work, borrowing liberally from blues music (Lonely Avenue); although in this case the presentation is pretty lo-fi, with drum machines and trashy organ accompanying the fuzz and reverb guitar. The formula is often incredibly simple, as on 'You're the one' - a simple riff is repeated, and the layers of fuzz guitar/organ are gradually turned up until the tune is rocking nicely. The only track that deviates slightly is my favourite track on the album, a masterpiece, and a worthy successor to 'How Does It Feel' from 'Playing With Fire'. It has a flotation tank feel, with a heartbeat-like pulse, some guitar loops, and distantly spaced keyboards. Occasional descending bass notes, chimes, and some brilliant use of reverse echo embellish this moody yet blissful track. It really does evoke the feeling of someone drifting off this mortal coil in an incredibly smashed state.
I saw Sonic Boom perform this a couple of years back - it was pretty special, even though his vocals haven't really improved over the years ( I like them for what they are). I can also recommend seeing the current incarnation of Spectrum. I saw them last year and they were excellent: it was a joy to behold excellent live versions of 'Transparent Radiation' and 'Revolution'. I was lucky enough to see Spacemen 3 once, and I must have seen virtually every spin off band since, including Spectrum in 1990, and even The Darkside. I seem to recall that Sonic supported My Bloody Valentine at ULU, accompanied by some bloke with a harmonica.


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