Boomkat Product Review:
30 years since it was recorded, Sonic Boom, Kevin Shields, Kevin Martin and Eddie Prévost’s arcing psych noise classic as studio “supergroup” E.A.R. remains a landmark of ‘90s outliers
Responsible for making myriad curtains and carpets melt in ganja-fogged bedsits, the 3rd album guided, post Spacemen 3, by mixing desk shaman Pete Kember aka Sonic Boom, is a masterclass in psychoactive feedback manipulation that goes down particularly well with a zoot or two. Its six parts conjure a constellation of stars on the lids of its users, deploying a plethora of studio-as-instrument FX and electro-acoustic techniques at the service of sending spangled minds to other dimensions. Even just looking at the stellar line-up of players, including legends of psychedelic improv, shoegaze and ambient dub pioneers, is enough to spark the imagination, but what lies inside surely transcends the sum of its parts.
Helmed by Sonic Boom manning a spectrum of FX, it collapses the treated guitars of MBV’s Shields with ritualist bowed cymbal and percussion by AMM’s Eddie Prévost, and echoic sax from the man who would become The Bug, to achieve banking waves of sound that stir with its reverberant title tune, and recede into ‘The Calm Before’, and turn tempestuous in the spirit-nagging siren call tunings of ‘In The Cold Light of Day’. A sublime passage of underwater bliss in ‘The Calm Beyond’ gives way to dens roil in ‘Dusk’ and a declension of energies akin to the final grip of a good acid trip departing the senses, nerves tingling and wending where you’ve just been, in ‘The Circle is Blue’.