|Beatsteaks - '.Limbo Messiah' (Warner Music Germany)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Thursday, 08 July 2010 05:00|
Talk about best kept secrets. '.Limbo Messiah', the fifth album from Germany's Beatsteaks, (their first since 'Smack Smash' in 2004) was actually released in their native country in 2007. That it has taken three full years to see release here yet sounds as vital and contemporary as a record that was recorded yesterday is testament to a great band and a most excellent album.
I'm big enough to admit that, prior to this album landing at my feet for review, I was not well-versed in all things beatsteak. Around sixty eyebrow-raising seconds into album opener 'As I Please' I was thinking; a) what the hell is this? and b) what the hell have I been missing?
And if the cross-genre stomping of that opener, complete with a strong and seriously impressive vocal from Arnim Teutoburg-Weiss (think Alexisonfire's Wade MacNeil in Black Lungs form), doesn't get you then second track 'Jane Became Insane' - available as a free download prior to the album's release - most certainly will; insanely catchy with schizophrenic guitar and a Rancid-esque pre-chorus, this tune is sure to separate the kool kids from the Stefan Kuntz.
While their hearts may be immersed in the American hardcore scene of a few decades ago, the band's musical souls are awash with a diversity that makes this album such a great release and, curiously maybe for an album from 2007, a definite contender to be shoehorned into my Album Of The Year list come the end of 2010.
One minute I'm forced to think of Scandinavian garage punk bands, the next my thoughts turn to the height of new wave. I'll scratch my head and think that I surely can't mention a song sounding a little like Big Country and get away with any credibility intact, then I'll marvel at how a song like 'Meantime' would, in the hands of a certain Mr Grohl, have been a massive worldwide hit with a music television-friendly video that cost more to make than this album. A whiff of Britpop here, a dash of reggae there, with punched out three chords permeating the curiosity at regular intervals, this is a rare formula that, somehow, works. And, I might add, works well. These diverse ingredients, thrown together, have forced a chemical reaction that threatens to consume the ears of millions. The core element may be punk rock but there are several kick-ass catalysts that have forced this beast to grow and stand head and shoulders above the norm.
Special mention has to go to the song 'She Was Great' - with all manner of genres of rock being spliced all around it, this song is a revelation; simple and sexy bass, infectious falsetto vocals and a great hook, this is a song that a post-Jam Paul Weller could have penned. She was, and this is, great. This song comes from nowhere but now goes everywhere with me as, like all timeless hooks, this will stick in your head for days.
Expect the unexpected, people. I love mavericks, whether they be filmmakers, comedians, artists, whatever. Beatsteaks, on the basis of '.Limbo Messiah', are musical mavericks who have made my stereo their home and it doesn't look like they're about to get evicted anytime soon. Highly recommended.