Arcade perfect? Quite possibly…
It’s true that whenever I think of Manchester, I think of rain, football and anorak wearing indie bands, but Sonic Boom Six have blown these misconceptions, or narrow-minded clichés as some may suggest, straight out of the proverbial wet stuff!
With, ‘Arcade Perfect’ we have a genre blending melting pot of styles which may’ve been done before, but here it’s done in such a way that it comes across as refreshing and original. The title track starts of with feverous guitars by Ben Childs and a mixture of hard drums and jungle samples from Neil, with the clean and girlie vocals of Laila K (The K stands for Khan)singing, “It ain’t over, until it’s over!” Moving nicely into, ‘While You Were Sleeping’ we have a sugary pop/punk song with catchy hooks and dripping melodies.
It’s the street wise, genre-crossing and experimental feat of, ‘Sound Of A Revolution’ which is by far the best song here, with verses full of rapping to a two-tone backbeat, it mixes a London hip hop sound with a contemporary ska beat. It has single potential with its ability to reach out to many listeners all at once. Moving on slightly from this is the hip, ‘Tell Me Something That I Don’t Know’ which mixes hip hop verses, and lending Laila K the bigger role of the hook and chorus, giving us a nice crossover song that is part dance track, and part hip hop with rock undertones.
It’s the catchy feel of both verses and chorus of the songs on, ‘Arcade Perfect’ that is the band’s strength, and things are more punk rock with the harder, but with sprinkles of melody in, ‘The Strange Tale Of Sid The Strangler’, before a more laidback trip hop reggae feel of, ‘Flower’, a tune that is a little like the band, Hoverphonic. Then we have a 3 minute blast of trumpet-led ska/punk in ‘Meanwhile, Back In The Real World…’, whilst the heavy bass lines of the mid tempo pop/ska treat of ‘September To May’ glides pleasing to the ears a little bit like No Doubt.
‘Ya Basta!’ is one of those multi layered songs that fill in any of the other missing genres, including a film sampled beginning giving an eerie intro before we have ragga/rap vocals making this more ragga than ska. It’s another great track that is stuck very much in the inner city. Great stuff! Then things turn completely on their head with the quite beautiful song, ‘I Wish I Could Smile’ which is a slow song built totally around the sweet vocal singing talents of Laila K, coming across somewhere between a sugary-sweet pop-ballad, and a tune from a teen movie, but I say this as a positive, as it’s as catchy as hell. Which then leaves us with the final song, ‘For 12 Weeks, ‘The City Is Theirs’ which is a little like the song before if you sped it up to 100 hundred miles an hour in a mass of pop/punk/ska!
I’ll be the first to admit that I had heard of Sonic Boom Six without ever having heard them, and I was more than pleasantly surprised about what I’ve heard here. A few months back I was wondering whether ska was a dying genre, however with the likes of Reel Big Fish, and the fantastic Streetlight Manifesto, both with whom Sonic Boom Six will be sharing a stage with early next year, it goes to show that as long as you tweak, and more importantly re-invent a genre, then it will not only survive but grow stronger.
‘Arcade Perfect’ is a great fresh sounding album, full of either technically and musically gifted tracks, with intricate vocals styles, mixed in with some bouncy, foot tapping, head-nodding pop/rock tracks. Basically, take a bow people, this is great stuff!