German blues-rockers The Picturebooks returned to the studio to release this their fifth album. The band toured their last two albums over a three year period which mounted to an incredible 350 shows, and they have experimented with their sound here by adding new instruments such as tubular bells and piano and it works really well.
I’ve jumped out of my genre range in recent weeks, opting to review some more, how can I put it, melodic rock albums in an attempt to discover more of the rock world that I have remained cocooned from in my ‘Death Metal’ underworld of many years. Don’t get me wrong. if I like a song, I like a song. Whether it be Napalm Death or Mozart. if it’s good, it’s good. But I’m finding this experiment of mine worthwhile in lots of different ways.
My first impression of The Picturebooks is that of the Jon Bon Jovi ‘Blaze Of Glory’ era. After the remarkable vocal opener ‘Horse Of Fire’, which reminds me of the secret track on Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’ album, this album’s first single ‘Howling Wolf’ hits us with full force into a tirade of Indian-style vocals and Wild West wizardry. ‘Like My World’ allows you to close your eyes and picture yourself sitting in a sunny canyon. It’s stop-start beat keeps you enthralled as Fynn Claus Grabke’s vocals relay his story to you.
‘The Hands Of Time’ is an almighty blues track that runs along at a steady pace. I love the background ‘yeahs’. They really make the song and change it into a great sing-a-long anthem. This is proper cowboy blues here with great use of the slide guitar. ‘The Day The Thunder Arrives’ projects the album to another level. Powerful, anthemic and atmospheric. Yet mesmerising too. ‘Rain’ has to be one of my favourite tracks here. The use of the E-minor chord on the acoustic is just beautifully played by Fynn.
A guest appearance by Chrissie Hynde on ‘You Can’t Let Go’ confirms that The Picturebooks are indeed a great Blues-Rock band. Hynde’s vocals propelling the song into another dimension. I think overall on this album there are certain elements missing from certain songs, from a critical point of view, such as each song has a really good basis to be a great song, but some fail to do this, which is a shame. But never the less, someone who’s genre this isn’t has enjoyed what he’s heard, which means it must be good.
1 – Horse of Fire 2 – Howling Wolf 3 – Like My World Explodes 4 – The Hands Of Time
5 – The Day The Thunder Arrives 6 – Electric Nights 7 – Rain 8 – You Can’t Let Go
9 – Lizard 10 – Tell Me Lies 11 – The Rising Fall
Fynn Claus Grabke – Vocals, Guitar / Philipp Mirtschink – Drums
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