Filed under: Reviews
Beatsteaks are one of my all-time favourite bands, so this review may come across as a tad biased. But, come ON, they are the Beatsteaks. To me, this is the best band Germany has given to the world (sorry Scorpions). Danke to you, Germany!
With each album I think, "Is this the one that is going to suck?" Each time, the answer is no. This is no exception. In fact, if you ask me it's one of their best albums. They are a band that is getting better with time. While other bands of their age, like Offspring for example, are looking a bit worse for the wear and don't have quite the same energy as they once did, Beatsteaks seem eternally youthful, maintaining their ability to entertain even after 20 years. Lead singer Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß must have some kind of fountain of youth, or is constantly drinking energy drinks laced with extreme happiness. Always smiling, always jumping around, always spot on perfect, he is a tremendous frontman that represents the band well. He can get a crowd worked up quickly, and drawn into his infectious personality.
Beatsteaks have only ever recorded one album in German, with their subsequent albums all being in English. Of course, performing in English opens the doors to the international market. And they have been extremely successful in Europe. They haven't hit it quite as big in North America, which I do find rather surprising. They released one album on Epitaph records (1999's Launched), which at the time was the mega label for indie punk music, and toured with bands like Bad Religion and Lagwagon. Now days, you can find them on the mainstage at mega festivals like Rock Am Ring in Germany, where they are met with tremendous enthusiasm, the kind that The Tragically Hip drew during their heyday as the kings of Canadian rock.
This latest release, their 7th studio album, is just a darn good offering, packed with great stick-in-your- head pop punk songs. There is all the youthful energy here, combined with mature, grounded songs like Gentleman of the Year and Creep Magnet and Everything Went Black which are far more on the poppier side than punk. These are radio friendly songs, but still alty and interesting enough to not come across as formulaic or as an appeasement of anyone's commercially dictated music tastes in any way. Their rock chops are evident on faster, harder contributions like A Real Paradise and their out and out fun punk ways come clear in DNA. If you aren't feeling good and jumping around from this song, I don't know what will move you.
Even though they don't drift too far from their Beatsteaks sound, they have managed to avoid coming across as stagnant, making the same album over and over. Each album sounds fresh. They just make good, solid, catchy music that is easy to sing along with, easy to get excited about and easy to get stuck in your head. Part of this, I believe, is the energy they have. They still seem like they are having the time of their lives, and seem to work so well together, having fun with what they are doing. And the result is an album listeners can have fun with.
Mind you, with saying they don't stray far from the Beatsteaks sound, they have gone from being just a straight ahead punk guitar band, to adding in extras like drum loops, xylophone sounds (I refer you once again to Gentleman of the Year), and in past albums, horns, to mix things up a bit and play around. But, the guitars of Bernd Kurtzke and Peter Baumann are most important, with any other additions being slight and blending in casually, not making a big scene. They know who they are. They know what their fans like. And they know not to mess with it too much. They don't do experimental albums or go off to India to rediscover and reinvent themselves. They just make the music they are good at making.
So, as with any Beatsteaks release, I urge people to rush out and buy it! You can never go wrong with a Beatsteaks album, and, like I mentioned, this could be one of their best, although that can be said with any of them. Maybe it's my stage of life combined their stage of life. It's the perfect soundtrack for me, today, at my age, yet could appeal to any one, young and old (like me). And maybe the band knows that it has hit the mark with this one, and said, "Hey, this album is us! Pure and simple!" and that's why it's a self-titled release? Worth thinking about.