Gütersloh may be a long way from the Louisiana swamps, but German two-piece The Picturebooks sound like they were born and raised on nothing but the Blues along the Mississippi. The band’s sophomore release and début for Another Century, Home Is A Heartache, is raw Blues Rock stripped to the bare essentials; a fuzzy guitar, stomping drums, and soulful vocals.
Vocalist/guitarist Fynn Claus Grabke and drummer Philipp Mirtschink embrace the retro-authentic & DIY ethos; Grabke spends his time hunting for vintage guitars while Mirtschink apparently makes his own percussion instruments. And this approach extends to how they record, the production has that warm, recorded in a shack feel to it which just adds to the ‘lost 70s classic’ feel.
The similarities to early The Black Keys is the easiest comparison to make – even if you would never have heard Dan Auerbach talking about ‘Zero Fucks Given’ – and scratches the same itch for uncomplicated, catchy rock that isn’t obviously chasing the mainstream. There are also shades of Led Zeppelin, Jack White, and maybe early Kings Of Leon too.
The quality of the songs is consistent throughout, and in addition The Picturebooks manage to inject plenty of variety; the title track is a quiet, soulful, ode to home, ‘Fire Keeps Burning’ is a hypnotizing stomper, ‘I Need that Ooh’ oozes dirty swagger while the short but sweet ‘The Murderer’ could easily be an old blues standard.
The Picturebooks aren’t the usual Ghost Cult fare, and given the right exposure it’s not hard to imagine these guys having some real chart success. If you need bluesy rock, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that can satisfy as well as Home Is A Heartache.