sat 15/08/2020

Album: Sonic Boom - All Things Being Equal | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Sonic Boom - All Things Being Equal

Album: Sonic Boom - All Things Being Equal

The shock of the familiar on solo album from former Spacemen 3 mainstay

Sonic Boom's 'All Things Being Equal': déjà vu-inducing

Experiencing All Things Being Equal is akin to taking a trip through The Time Tunnel. Although the songs and the recordings on the new solo album from former Spacemen 3 man Pete Kember aka Sonic Boom are recent, they could have been lifted from his first (and last) solo album, 1989’s Spectrum, and Spacemen 3’s final set, 1991’s Recurring.

Opening cut “Just Imagine” has the bloopiness, pulse and melancholy vocal defining Kember’s contributions to Recurring. Next, the spacey “Just a Little Piece of Me” incorporates the hymnal texture he and his then-partner Jason Pierce deftly brought to the late Spacemen 3. “Tawkin Tekno” suggests Kraftwerk and, true to its title, also nods to early/mid Nineties techno. The poppiest cut, “The Way That You Live”, has touches of Phil Spector but, again, could have been written and recorded by Kember close to 30 years ago. All Things Being Equal’s claustrophobic, epic and similarly déjà vu-inducing closer is titled “I Feel a Change Coming On”. A sentiment which doesn’t seem to apply to this album.

After Spectrum and Recurring, Kember made three albums with his eponymous outfit Spectrum (issued in 1992, 1994 and 1997) and recorded as E.A.R. There have also been regular collaborations on record and live, including with the late BBC Radiophonic Workshop innovator Delia Derbyshire. Latterly, much of his work has been in a backroom capacity: sympathetically remastering archive psychedelic releases and helping mix and produce bands like Beach House, the post-Stereolab combo Cavern Of Anti-Matter, MGMT and TEEN – none of which has rubbed off on All Things Being Equal.

Kember’s clients and partners know he’s immune from changing zeitgeists, which is partly why they work with him. Perhaps it’s appropriate he’s now set the controls to dialling-up his own past.

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