Despite the third wave of ska peaking in the early noughties, Britain has maintained the development of the scene throughout the underground punk circuit, and nobody represents the politically fuelled genre quite like Manchester’s very own Sonic Boom Six. Now hitting their fifth full-length record, the liberating dual vocals of Laila Khan and Barney Boom are as on point as ever on ‘The F-Bomb’, with the band replacing their in-your-face attitude with a more mature and meaningful sound that benefits from the thought-provoking lyrics about the state of the world today.
The gripping album cover of Laila wearing a niqab is enough to tell you that this is going to be far more challenging than your average pop-punk record in 2016 as the Boom aren’t afraid to tackle anything on their crowd-funded record. ‘No Man, No Right’ is a women’s rights policy with a funky two-tone beat and saxophone solo for that real second wave rhythm.
The ferocious style of SB6 have been replaced with softer vocals for the most part, but ‘Drop The Bass (And Pick It Up)’ allows for Barney to squeeze in a quick rap and the juxtaposition with the squeaky clean female vocals works effortlessly.
‘The F-Bomb’ has come at a perfect time for SB6 as it drops at a time of political importance for the country, and the sunny vibes will make up for the lack of actual sunshine in the UK this summer. A sample of Dexys Midnight Runners‘ ‘Geno’ to start ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ is a very welcome horn line over themes of society expectations, and how you don’t have to conform to the norm.
Every track on the record invokes a dance groove mentality, regardless of whether it’s exploring radical violence in ‘L.O.V.E.’, or transgender singers in ‘Joanna’, the sound of the skanking Mancs has been tightened for a slower yet funkier brand of ska/pop-punk that is sure to appeal to an older crowd as well as the current fans.
For any fans lusting after the old punk sound, a live set from Norwich’s Owl Sanctuary is included in the record for the full Sonic Boom Six experience, and if nothing else this secures ‘The F-Bomb’ as a very welcome addition to the journey.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)