It’s been about 30 years since the ever-influential Spacemen 3 called it a day amid a storm of backbiting and recriminations. Yet in 2022, within months of each other, the band’s twin powers have both released their own albums.
However, while Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized let a space rock-sounding opus rip on Everything was beautifulSonic Boom has teamed up with fellow Portuguese and adopted Animal Collective-ist, Panda Bear for something considerably more breezy and poppy, if not less trippy and giddy.
Seemingly influenced by listening to Sonic Boom’s collection of 50s and 60s American doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll albums for the first time in years, having finally transported them to his new home. The two longtime friends and collaborators recorded Reset together, an album that often seems to imagine an Everly Brothers produced by Joe Meek and supported by the Beach Boys under the influence of certain particularly powerful masterminds. Uplifting, swaying summer vibes send back vocal harmonies that often camouflage something considerably darker, with weird ’60s synthesizer sounds from “Getting’ to the Point,” with its riff from “Three Steps to Heaven.” from Eddie Cochran to the electronic oddity of “It All Led To This”.
Along the way, Panda Bear and Sonic Boom tackle psychedelic surf pop in “Danger,” the sunny, bouncy vibes of Lovin’ Spoonful on “Edge of the Edge,” and the deliberate hypnotic experimentation of “In My Body” and “Whirlpool”. . In reality, Reset is decidedly relaxed and gentle yet stands well apart from the mainstream, exuding a distinctly narcotic, yet upbeat wooziness with a smile on her face. However, like the Beach Boys before them, Panda Bear and Sonic Boom use catchy melodies to communicate something not entirely wholesome but altogether more disorienting to those paying attention.