The Picturebooks - 'Home Is A Heartache' (Another Century) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Monday, 27 March 2017 04:00

Home Is A Heratache - Cover'Home Is A Heartache' the sophomore album from The Picturebooks sounds like it was recorded somewhere on a Californian highway in the searing heat of the desert or maybe near the dirty banks of the Mississippi. Truth is, the German duo Fynn Claus Grabke (vocals/guitar) and Philipp Mirtschink (drums) recorded it in their garage, in the German countryside where they restore motorbikes and choppers, when they are not kicking up a storm at a gig that is.


After coming off a two year stint on the road touring America and Europe in a beat up van promoting their debut long player, the duo retreated to their garage, set up the guitars and drums amongst a backdrop of engine parts and skateboards and started to record songs based on their experiences. 


There's a primal feel to The Picturebooks sound. Fynn plays battered pawn shop guitars and Philipp swaps sticks for felt beaters to pound his massive floor toms. Homemade percussion and bells replace cymbals, this is not your usual two piece set up, yet it still feels massive for just a guitar/drums set up. Yeah, yeah, yeah...easy reference points are The Black Keys and Jack White of course but I also hear a whole lotta Reignwolf going on.


This is raw Blues played with conviction and style. Following the bluesy slide intro of 'Seen Those Days', tribal beats and chanting gang vocals drive 'Wardance', it's  a tribal beat infested call to arms that sets the scene for the entire album. Great stuff, more of this I hope for and more I certainly get,

Crazed, wolf-like howling introduces the brooding title track that builds slowly to an intensity. There's a definite aching within the song, a yearning that sits well. This feels like the centre point of the album, so much so, that even on first listen I hope they have not blown their load too soon; but thankfully the feel and sentiment carries on throughout the album.


There's a definite live sound captured in the production, with the help of improvised lyrics and their recording space no doubt.



The modern chain gang groove of 'Cactus' is just under three minutes of heavy percussion intensity, this is so good. Slide guitar blues of 'The Murderer' leads into 'Zero Fucks Given', again a slide blues verse that leads into a pounded out anthemic chorus. 'Heathen Love' has that 'live in the studio' feel, where you can just picture the duo jamming out, facing each other in a room across motorcycle parts and the smell of engine oil. The two playing as one, with the conviction and mastery of their instruments that only time served on the road can muster.


You can feel the live energy and the urgency in the music that has shaped 'Home Is A Heartache'. This is the raw intensity of two guys on the road, living, eating and breathing rock 'n' roll. The expanse of the open road, the confines of their transport/bed for the night, the anticipation of showtime and whether anyone will actually be there. To sum things up nicely, the song 'On These Roads I'll Die' could well be their anthem, their epitaph and their reason to be. 

'Home Is A Heartache' is out now.


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