Sonic Boom Six – The F-Bomb

By Louis Kerry

Over a year ago, Sonic Boom Six had to tell their fans who had pledged towards their successful album campaign that they had left their record label due to creative differences and wanting to go in a new direction musically. This is something the UK punk rock veterans weren’t lying about. Having never been the type of band to throw out music without meaning, passion and creativity, they continue to act as a voice for the under represented in our scene. The F-Bomb does all of this with spirit and conviction.

Now signed to Cherry Red Records and despite the delay, their fifth full-length release couldn’t have come out at a more fitting time. With the EU referendum looming, USA elections making millions of eyes roll and the rest of the world continuing to struggle with serious cultural issues, Sonic Boom Six put the world to rights with authority and accessibility.

As soon as you see the album cover depicting singer Laila Khan in a niqab and makeup, it’s clear that the band aren’t out to shock but to challenge stereotypes and bring awareness to serious matters – something punk rock has always supposed to be about, but has somehow been cast aside for songs about pizza and ex-girlfriends.

Laila’s vocals are soft but passionate. Kicking off with ‘No Man, No Right’, it’s clear there isn’t a topic off limits. Whether it’s a feminist call to arms or challenging the typical anti immigration arsehole, The F-Bomb puts you into a ska infused and politically motivated daze.

Coming to the forefront of their sound; ska, reggae and dub are more present in the F-Bomb than they have ever been before. But at no point does it feel as effective or impassioned compared to their older work. Despite being lyrically at their peak, the lack of speed, huge brass hooks or sheer aggression is what lets this album down. For a band so determined to be different and mix things up, it is hard to get past the monotony of the album.

With comfortable similarities to The Skints, even though it’s not what you completely expect from a SB6 album musically, the last thing they have ever done is stay settled. Progression and change have always been key in the band’s career and it’s clear they are far from going stale. Barney Boom still proves there’s a place for rap in the scene (especially on ‘Drop The Bass’) and Laila’s vocals will lighten up the gloomiest of days with style.

Closing track ‘Echoes in the Dark’ picks the album up off the ground with the only really great chorus on the record and acts as the perfect closer. It’s just a shame this is too little too late.

Full of charming ska vibes that are made for the summer, The F-Bomb is inspiring, creative and ballsy. Despite perhaps going a few steps back musically, Sonic Boom Six deserve credit for doing what they want to do and saying what they want to say, regardless if it’s what they’re ‘meant’ to do or say in both the music industry and the wider community. Their fans will certainly feel like the wait was worth it.

LOUIS KERRY

Three more album reviews for you

Emarosa - 'Sting'

New Found Glory - 'Make The Most of It'

LIVE: Clutch / Green Lung / Tigercub @ The Roundhouse, London