Photographers: Olaf Heine; Daniel Josef John; Beatsteaks.
Arrangers: Arnim; Torsten Otto; Thomas ; Peter ; Bernd.
They may have been punk, but it's all in the past; on Boom Box, Beatsteaks play raw rock with a catchy edge that suggests the White Stripes, but rooted in old hard rock with a no-nonsense facelift. A couple of tunes do offer the good old frantic speed, simple riffs, and singalong choruses -- and on "Bullets from Another Dimension," a title worthy of Misfits to boot -- but that's just one dish on the menu. Several other songs, for instance, sport reggae-ish rhythms along with punkish guitars, so it's sorta like ska without a horn section; again, not an unusual route for a punk band to take (just think Blue Hearts). Those tunes, however, have more identity than a regular stylistic experiment -- "Automatic," for example, comes with hypnotically droning guitar textures that are, indeed, somewhat mechanical, but deliberately so, and to good effect. Some other numbers are just energetic, unpolished alt-rock blasters -- to talk of Jack and Meg White, or, in case of the opener, a very rough take on the Smiths' legacy -- but "Under a Clear Blue Sky" and "House on Fire" sound too melodic for that, rather like '80s rock if you can imagine it being non-cheesy. That's a tall order, true, but Beatsteaks pull it off, since they only dabble in other styles because they're rebellious enough to do so, and who's to stop them? The bandmembers never lose track of their own sound -- straightforward, no-frills, gritty rock -- and if they sometimes neglect catchiness, they make up for it with the dirty power of a mud-racing monster truck, cranking out a delightfully rowdy, gripping record in the process. ~ Alexey Eremenko