Manchester heroes Sonic Boom Six have returned with their new self-titled album on Xtra Mile Records and it is the sound of a band evolving and taking Britain head on.
SB6 have never been a band easy to pin down, they take on a eclectic mix of sounds to produce what they do and this self titled release is no different in terms of genre bending. The prominent Ska sound which was familiar on earlier releases has been replaced for a heavily electronic feel. It is the sound of a band experimenting and evolving. It’s a new direction which will not alienate their old fans but will entice a new audience. Laila and Barney again prove that they are quite possibly one of the best vocal duos in the business, Barney’s aggressive vocal style mixing between his punky shouts to his spoken word is complimented by Laila K’s distinctive vocal style.
Even with this change in sound you still cannot pin this band down. The new release is interesting, challenging and the sound of a band wanting to step up from a cult following onto a bigger platform.
‘For the Kids of the Multi-Culture’ has been in circulation for over a year now and is a familiar and strong introduction to the album, the strong guitar riff is followed by Laila K’s familiar vocals taking up the chorus. Barney never fails to impress with his imaginative lyrics and smooth vocal flow (Reggae posters in Polish grocers/getting on together like chips and samosas). Addressing the issue of the positive aspect of being in a multicultural country with Laila focusing on the ‘evolution, the world that we shape, and the contribution that makes Britain great’. It promotes a positive message and one that should be taken on board by everyone.
‘Virus’ is the official single from the album and has a heavy dance rock sound to it incorporating the electronic influence on the vocals and with an introduction that creeps up on the listener before exploding into the memorable “It’s like a Virus and its coming to get you my friend…” it is a song that could easily be play in a nightclub as well as a gig venue.
Continuing the new electronic sound of the band is the bass and dub heavy ‘High Cost of Living’. It is a track that stands out because it is heavy in every way; the solid bass line and the familiar ‘wob’ sound of the dub influence blends so well with one of the best guitar riffs the album has to offer. It really is ridiculous how diverse this band are, each song is a surprise to the ears because you cannot expect what genre they are going to take and make their own. From the heavy dub influence the middle section goes back to the familiar sound of a trumpet solo again, the creativity this band oozes should make so many other bands jealous.
On ‘Keep on Believing’ Laila takes charge of vocal duties and it contains one of the simplest yet catchiest hooks of the entire album “It was the sound of our anthem, we raised our fists like a champion…” it is so uplifting and I hope that it will be included in their live set as the collective sound of the audience singing along to the lyrics would be great to be a part of.
Sonic Boom Six are one of the most interesting bands about at the moment and to many are a hidden gem. The new album has the potential to catapult this band into a bigger light, with concerns with the target audience Laila has stated that “The whole purpose of the album was to get our ethos and message out in a way that is inclusive and inviting to everyday people.” This is certainly an album everyone get on board with. SB6 have laid the foundations for what should be a fresh and successful chapter in the bands career.
‘Sonic Boom Six’ by Sonic Boom Six is available now on Xtra Mile Records.
Words by Robert Maddison (@bertmaddison).