Sonic Boom: All Things Being Equal (Carpark) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 5th, 2020  

Sonic Boom

All Things Being Equal

Carpark

Jun 05, 2020 Web Exclusive
Bookmark and Share


Pete Kember has held legendary status in independent music circles since Spacemen 3’s heyday in the sun over three decades ago. Enigmatic, yet, consistent in his output, he’s also become one of the most sought-after producers in recent years, having worked with the likes of MGMT, Beach House, and Moon Duo among a host of others. 

It’s probably fair to say Kember’s vision has led everything he’s put his name on to be instantly recognizable as his work. Whether it be his collaborative moniker of Spectrum, or his slightly unconventional guise as Experiment Audio Research (E.A.R.), there’s always been a direct correlation to Kember’s past works while always looking ahead to the future. He might not necessarily know where that road might take him, but, nevertheless, it’s a fruitful journey all the same. 

So, it feels as though the paradigm has come full circle on All Things Being Equal, his first album as Sonic Boom since Spectrum 30 years ago. As a concept album of sorts, it was lyrically inspired by the natural surroundings of his new home of Sintra in the Portuguese countryside, where Kember and his wife moved a couple of years ago. Indeed, the story of All Things Being Equal starts as far back as 2015 in Kember’s hometown of Rugby. Having recorded a collection of demos that were almost released as an instrumental album, his subsequent change of scenery gave the initial recordings new impetus, and ultimately, a different focus. 

Comprised of 10 pieces in total, All Things Being Equal represents Kember at his most eloquent, both sonically and subjectively. Opener and lead single “Just Imagine” follows the template set by songs like “Lonely Avenue” off his 1990 debut. It’s a simple, Yamaha driven melody, enthusing its subject matter that was inspired by the story of a boy that suffered from cancer only to become healed by raining out his illness. 

While both “Just a Little Piece Of Me” and “Things Like That (a Little Deeper)” follow in a similar vein, the spoken word epilogue that’s “Spinning Coins and Wishing on Clovers” has an air of reminiscence about it. Again, not that dissimilar in structure to “Angel” off the aforementioned Spectrum long player. It stands out as one of the most striking moments in admittedly exquisite company.

Indeed, there isn’t a solitary second where All Things Being Equal feels forced, overwrought, or hackneyed. Instead, this is a record that demands to be heard in one sitting, then repeatedly ad infinitum. “Tawkin Tekno,” the only instrumental number on the album, sounds like a Suicide outtake remodeled for the millennial age, while epic closer “I Feel a Change Coming On” finds Kember at his most reflective, yet assured.

All things being equal, this is arguably Pete Kember’s finest body of work since Spacemen 3. (www.sonic-boom.info

Author rating: 8.5/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.