Urban Punk Rockers?
Manchester's, Sonic Boom Six are a band that run things themselves, for themselves and here with the band's fourth album - the eponymous album - there is a feeling of re-invention. Other bands have lost their way, like the fabulous The Kings Blues who play a similar type of music but with more Punk and less Dubstep, who came, conquered and bailed before you could catch your breath. Sonic Boom Six have always been around there with a crossover sound that mixes many urban sounds including Reggae, Ska, Dubstep, Dance, Rap and Rock, but here they stand up ready to be counted with the band's most anthem-packed album to date.
The band always like to set the scene with noises and atmospherics and this is the case with the opener, For The Kids Of The Multiculture whereby we have some great grimy rap-vocals from Paul Barnes (AKA Barney Boom), like: "Well, let me tell ya // when I look out on tha street where I live // I feel lucky to live in a town that's mixed // there's European, Caribbean, every flavour in between // From the shops, to the mosque to the cuisine // Reggae posters in Polish grocers // Getting' on together like chips and samosas...", whilst the chorus is sung out by Leila K. Next is the first single from the album which is the more Dubstep Dance of Virus, which is followed by the similar sounding Karma Is A Bitch that explodes crazy guitar riffs like a morning after release.
Through the mix of musical styles you will notice in the lyrics that the band are socially aware of what is happening in the world, like in Flatline that tells the story of last year's riots, and in S.O.S. (State Of Shock) the sounds of bomb sirens and emergency service announcement tell you that the man on the street can understand the frustrations of life and how close we are sometimes to losing it and turning on to ourselves, like with the lyrics, "This is an SOS // Your life is nothing but a Russian roulette // Another day in a state of shock..." then the message is clear in the more Dance meets Rock meets Ska mash up of The High Cost Of Living. Disposable income? What disposable income we wonder. Then we have the straight up Punk Rock of Gary Got A Gun with rap verses that you could imagine Tim Armstrong's bands, Rancid, or Transplants singing.
There aren't too many songs here that are slow paced and the high-octane Punk/Metal of Who Will Survive (And What Will Be Left Of Them) takes no prisoners with Metal riffs and shouting vocals, and even Leila K's tuneful vocals struggle to make this anything but a kick-ass tune. However the best song here is the fantastic, Keep On Believing that is Heavy Pop/Punk with a few trumpets, and a chorus so accessible that it is already in your head and you don't even know it yet. Brilliant. Then the album finishes with the last song Karma Is A Lady, which is a gentle heavy-plod track that takes a horn section, a synthesizer, some nifty drum beats and a chilled hip-hop feel giving you time to reflect on what you are listening to.
Sonic Boom Six have produced an album that is like a selection of your favourite musical pick'n'mix. They have taken the genres that they are good and strong at and have successfully written and recorded a fine album that has enough Dance to get you ready for a night out, but enough hard guitars and drums to pump your fist to and release steam, wrapped up nicely with horns and samples and thoughtful lyrics. This is by far the band's best album. Great stuff!