All Things Being Equal by Sonic Boom

What pleasing colours and shapes! Sonic Boom is the solo venture of Peter Kember, a one-time member of the groups Spacemen 3 and Spectrum. If you’ve forgotten all about this project, well, that’s understandable - Kember's only released on previous album as Sonic Boom, and that came out way back in 1990. He has returned, however, with 'All Things Being Equal', an LP that he was encouraged to make by Stereolab’s Tim Gane. It's a winner and all, a heavy-psych record full of spiral-staircase Krautrock tones and third-eye psych jams.

CD £8.91 CAK142CD

Gatefold CD with 12-page, 6-panel insert with lyrics on front, poster on back.

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Vinyl LP £17.48 CAK142LP

Standard LP comes with single sleeve jacket with matte coating, inner sleeve with lyrics, 12”x12” foil insert with artwork.

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Limited Vinyl LP £18.99 CAK142LPX

Limited LP comes with foil single sleeve jacket, inner sleeve with lyrics, 12”x12” foil insert with artwork, and 12”x19” poster.

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All Things Being Equal by Sonic Boom
4 reviews. Write a review for us »
8/10 Tommy WM 05 June 2020

Sonic Boom is back! It’s been a thirty year wait since his first solo album ‘Spectrum’, but the ex-Spaceman 3 man has been a busy boy since then. He formed the band Spectrum (confusing right?), supported My Bloody Valentine on their reunion tour, played with Kevin Shields, Delia Derbyshire and Kevin Martin in Experimental Audio Research, and has produced high-profile albums for MGMT and Beach House. He’s also recorded closely with two members of Animal Collective and it seems his time with both Deakin and Panda Bear has certainly rubbed off on him. The swampy synths of Panda’s ‘Meets the Grim Reaper’ and ‘Tomboy’ are present, as is the woozy halcyon psychedelia of Deakin’s ‘Sleep Cycle’. It’s Kember’s vocals that are the giveaway, they’re often layered into harmonies and delivered rhythmically to lead the tracks. They never go quite as far as the Brian Wilson-isms of Panda, though there is a whole lot of influence from The Beach Boys, as if he were making a whole record of ‘All I Wanna Do’s’.

‘All Things Being Equal’ starts the car rolling at ‘Autobahn’ pace with ‘Just Imagine’; synths bubble and hiccup as snares fall on the offbeat. ‘Things Like This (A Little Bit Deeper)’ borders on Balearic house with its dance shuffle and sunny tones, ‘On A Summer’s Day’ mimics NEU!’s minimalist masterpiece ‘Isi’ with metronomic clock ticks, whilst ‘I Feel a Change Coming On’ employs a similar troupe with marching handclaps and dubby drones. On ‘Spinning Coins and Wishing on Clovers’, Kember re-dons his Spaceman suit for a piece which recalls Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo’ album. ‘The Way That You Live’ is the most immediate track on the record, finding the middle-ground between upbeat synthpop and krautrock with its vibrant bassline, catchy vocals and snappy percussion.

Kember can be accused of overdoing the vocal manipulations a bit. Whilst they add a woozy bad trip sensation to some of the tracks, they appear one time too many. He’s shown he can provide an excellent vocal motif on the songs with no effects, and it would be cool to let the layered synths breathe a bit more like in ‘Tawkin Tekno’. That being said, the pros definitely outweigh the cons here. ‘All Things Being Equal’ looks like its cover, all wriggly and shapeless like the constantly ever-changing blobs in a lava lamp. It’s good to have him back alright.

9/10 Frankie Customer rating (no review), 17th July 2020
8/10 Stuart Customer rating (no review), 10th July 2020
9/10 Pablo Customer rating (no review), 2nd July 2020



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