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Sonic Boom Six - Sounds To Consume

  by Alex Halls

published: 18 / 11 / 2005

Sonic Boom Six - Sounds To Consume
Label: Moonska
Format: CD


Compelling re-release with new tracks of Sonic Boom Six's debut album, who unusually for a ska/reggae act are fronted by Laila, a female singer

Whilst very few punk-influenced ska / reggae bands exist at the forefront of music at present, the vast majority of those that do are vocally led by a male. Step out of the fore and Sonic Boom Six present an exception to the rule as the lead vocalist is female and, once heard, presents a wholesome, if not somewhat bizarre, change from the norm. Originally released on the Moon Ska Europe label, the eight track 'Sounds to Consume' album is now re-released and includes an additional eight tracks, four of which are to be found on the band’s self-released demo debut 'SB6' and four that are drum and bass styled mixes. Conceived in Manchester in 2001, Laila (vocals), Barney (vocals / bass), Ben (vocals / saxophone), Neil (drums); and Dave (guitar) form Sonic Boom Six. Only in genuine ska bands does one begin to find brass instrument inclusion: Sonic Boom Six provide the majestic saxophone, which also takes a Mediterranean sound on demo track, 'Northern Skies', adding a chilled-out and soothing sound as a contrast to the faster majority of other songs. The music on 'Sounds to Consume' is top notch and is particularly engaging due to the unexpected changes that take place within: the mélange on the record of older songs and the main album may well contribute to this. On top, the ska, reggae and hip-hop influences, both of which have the ability to vary style and form with little effort, add definition to what is already engaging music. Whilst other bands have their own distinct style, Sonic Boom Six’s style works on variety. It is this variety that makes the album succulent, so succulent that one becomes absorbed within its varied nuances and cannot put it down until it has been fully devoured. Yet, even after this praise, I remain to be fully convinced with the female vocals, which work well with their variation between rapping and what the band describes as "squeaking", although this label gives the wrong impression. The vocals certainly provide pizzazz and add an alternate characteristic to ska / reggae punk, lacking not in determination. Secondary, male vocals from either Ben or Barney then break the lead at the right times. They do, despite having a hint of abrasiveness, miss some of that grind and brusqueness that is generally associated with the alternative scene, which is more often seen in male vocalists. Having said that, it would definitely work live with energy flying about in abundance but, in its recorded state, it takes time to adjust to. Conclusively, Sonic Boom Six do everything right on 'Sounds to Consume', from the genre variety to the individual performances. The vocals are where taste really has a major impact on the experience of the album on first play; time helps to remove this initial perception, which follows from one’s expectation of the album. 'Sounds to Consume', is a real breath of fresh air. The ska and reggae are charismatic, the hip-hop helps to balance the record and, if this wasn’t already enough, a rock ‘n’ roll vibe comes across in an 'SB6' re-work of the Clash’s 'Safe European Home', a song that plays to Laila’s singing strengths.

Track Listing:-
1 The Rape Of Punk To Come
2 Let The Children Play
3 Monkey See, Monkey Do / Funky Kingston
4 Safe European Home
5 Blood For Oil
6 People Acklike They Don't Know
7 The Devil Made Me Do It
8 Silent Majority
9 The Rape Of Punk To Come (video)
10 People Acklike They Don't Know (video)

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