Reviews

Sophisticated Boom Boom Sophisticated Boom Boom LP reissue

Before teaching themselves the instruments that they would use to make timeless buzzsaw punk/C86 pop in CHIN CHIN, bassist Esther and drummer Marianne started out as co-vocalists in the ’80s-goes-’60s group SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM—three women up front at the mic with musical backing provided by all-male Swiss punks SOZZ, offering up malt shop sounds for the new wave age. With a band name lifted from the SHANGRI-LAS and more than a few song titles could have been pulled straight from the RONETTES/CHIFFONS/SHIRELLES (“Jimmy Jimmy,” “Ready to Dance,” “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” etc.), the girl group influence on SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM’s 1982 LP is just as pronounced as it was in CHIN CHIN’s soaring-but-wistful, “Be My Baby”-layered harmonies, crashed through the wall of sound to hit more of a twist-and-shout garage beat with wailing sax and giddy teen dance energy. For all of the blatant retromania, there’s also some very de rigeur ’80s post-punk moves in the BOOM BOOM mix, like the spacious dub echo and spectral RAINCOATS-esque vocals in “Dance With Me,” or “Boom Boom Rap” snapping into some elastic downtown funk-punk, or the horn-spiked, PIGBAG’d polyrhythmic clatter of “Numa”—the result is almost precisely Red Bird meets Rough Trade, and it’s charming as hell.