This Weekend I’ll mostly be listening to….Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis - Indian Giver May 28, 2011Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
Ah, Sonic Boom [no relation to Irma, if you’ll forgive me my little joke). Or Pete Kember, though he appears to prefer the former appelation. One time member of Spacemen 3, mentioned indirectly here. A neat ear for a melody, drugs references galore, a penchant for droning keyboards, a love of 60s trippy psychedelia and ambient and a hint of Mary Chain thrown into the mix. And yet it’s not him who gets the plaudits but Jason Peirce of Spiritualized, racing ahead on the outside with his neat ear for melody, drugs references galore, a penchant for droning keyboards, a love of 60s trippy psychedelia and ambient and a hint of Mary Chain thrown into the mix.
But that won’t stop me from loving dearly Mr. Boom’s output as a solo artist under the name Spectrum and loving not much of Spiritualized’s output (bar Pure Phase). All kaleidoscopes and colour wheels. I think he was trying to say something – hmmmm…
In fairness these men are still alive is a testament to the resilience of the human body in the face of self-inflicted pharmacological warfare. I’ve said it before, I’m pretty straight edge myself, bar Beamish and Smithwicks, so that don’t impress me much, but that said there’s always the odd interesting despatch delivered straight from the front-line. Particularly when it’s delivered in a format like this. Sweet melodies, one note keyboard lines, the 60s, no the 70s, no the 80s references, found sound and so on. A sort of compressed history of music, or at least one slice of it across the various albums released as Spectrum or Experimental Audio Research.
And here is Sonic Boom working with the now late but no less legendary Captain Memphis aka Jim Dickinson, a man with a Zelig like capacity to be there at some of the more interesting moments in rock over the past forty, or is it fifty, years. Producer, frontman, instrumentalist. All of these and more, and so some will recognise him from his work with Alex Chilton on Third/Sister Lovers as well as a career that linked him with a plethora of others including the Replacements. Indian Giver, the album is a shortish and snappy mixture of Boom’s trademark drones and Dickinson’s Deep South sensibility, the two merged into an updated 2000s sensibility without losing the strengths of their respective starting positions. Particularly interesting/enjoyable are the ones where Dickinson did spoken vocals over some of the tracks, “Til Your Mainline Comes” is perhaps the best. But those hankering after Sonic Boom’s trademark output won’t find this album wanting, from “Hey Man” to the keyboard driven groove of “Take Your Time”. When I found myself whistling along to the latter it struck me just how fresh, how effortless Boom makes it sound, but despite the fact that he’s been doing this for over two decades I don’t think it is.
I’d have liked to have heard them doing more work together. But Sonic Boom is no slouch when it comes to working with others, and a fairly diverse crew at that.
It’s far from a novel thought, but the capacity of rock and whatever else you want to call itself to find more in what should be an over-worked medium is fairly extraordinary. But although I’ve heard riffs like that which underpins Hey Man, I’ve never heard anything exactly like it. In that distinction is everything. I’ve thrown in How You Satisfy Me and Neon Sigh from Sonic Boom’s early 1990s output just by way of comparison. They demonstrate different aspects of his approach from poppy to more blissed out soundscapes. In some respects there’s little difference with what he’s been doing more recently, but that’s the point. There doesn’t need to be.
When Tomorrow Hits
”The Lonesome Death Of Johnny Ace”
The Old Cow Died
How you satisfy me [Spectrum, Soul Kiss (Glide Divine) - 1992]
Neon Sigh [Spectrum, Soul Kiss (Glide Divine) - 1992]