Written by: PP on 16/02/2011 02:11:44

I'm no Beatsteaks expert so forgive me if I'm wrong, but I was always under the impression that these Germans were known for high-octane, raw, melodic punk rock rather than experimentalist alternative rock intended for mature audiences? The chilled oud soundscapes that even occasionally touch in ska/reggae territory on their sixth album "Boombox" certainly don't speak for the former, and if it is indeed the case that Beatsteaks have changed this much since their last album, then the change is definitely for the worse.

From the few Beatsteaks songs I've heard over the years, I remember the band often toying with Weezer-esque alternative rock but never straying away completely from their punk rock roots. Aside from a few pieces on "Boombox", that's exactly what the band does here: jump ship to a cleaner and far more easily accessible mixture of chilled alternative rock and experimental rock. "Milk & Honey", for instance, sounds a little like Fake Problems just without the honesty and the brilliant sense for subtle melody, while "Cheap Comments" sounds far too grandiose and epic in its experimentalist approach, resulting in a transparently nothing-saying sound. Sure, you have "Bullets From Another Dimension" picking up the tempo and giving us some of that melodic mainstream punk from the older days, but it's but a droplet in the sea of tracks that incite boredom as opposed to excitement. "Under A Clear Blue Sky" is another exception, but again we're talking more about a power ballad than a punk rock track. No wonder "Boombox" has been heavily debated in communities across the web, with some defending the band's apparent change in direction and others, like me, not getting much out of the new album.

I'm not saying "Boombox" is bad. A song like "Access Adrenalin" can carry the album on its own if for no other reason than sounding like "New Wave"-era Against Me!. It's just that there are so few highlights and so many tracks that progress forward too lazily to make an impression or simply lack passages that'd make you want to return to the songs. Did the band run out of ideas or just decide punk rock's no good for men of their age? Whichever the reason, "Boombox" certainly wasn't the introductory album to Beatsteaks I was expecting.


Download: Bullets From Another Dimension, Under A Clear Blue Sky, Access Adrenalin
For the fans of: Fake Problems, Die Ärtze, Donots
Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.01.2011
Warner Music

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