Beatsteaks - Smack Smash
Listening to Smack Smash, it’s hard to place Beatsteaks as a German band. This set of twelve songs (all in English, no weird accents) totals 32 minutes exactly, and fits them neatly into a catalogue of British and American bands, a nice surprise if the words “German” and “rock” previously conjured up only thoughts of Rammstein.
So the tracks are mostly bursts of poppy punk (or vice versa), carefully calculated not to outstay their welcome. Influences are worn heavily, but are at least well chosen. Elements of The Clash can be found on Hand In Hand, My Revelation (with its mob backing vocals) and Hello Joe (no prizes for guessing who this is dedicated to). Loyal to None seems to allude to Nick Oliveri sung Queens of the Stone Age material, its screeching “All I wanna say is fuck you all” lyric not a million miles away from that band’s Six Shooter. Slower, poppier tracks Ain’t Complaining and What’s Coming Over You might even seduce the odd Strokes fan.
Okay, Beatsteaks don’t exactly strive for originality - the closest thing here to experimentation is a brief burst of horn on Hand in Hand -, but they do have a commitment to making a sound which is loud yet accessible, and an ear for a catchy tune. They’ve done most of the work for you by singing in English, essentially eliminating any real barrier to the US and UK markets, so deserve at least a chance from anyone interested in current rock music.