Follow Us on Twitter

Beatsteaks - Limbo Messiah

Beatsteaks, Limbo Messiah

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BY their own admission, Berlin pacifists Beatsteaks wanted to “set off another couple of bombs” with their latest album, Limbo Messiah. To be fair, they do.

Half of the songs on the LP are driven by the catapult energy that you’ll more commonly find with American hardcore combos from the Eighties.

“Bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat and so on can’t play like Pink Floyd, but they had this unbelievable power,” explains enthused bass player, Torsten Scholz. “On the other hand, Bad Brains did have this diversified musicality.”

Hence, amid some of the fast-as-lightning outpourings that mark the majority of the album, Limbo Messiah is also capable of surprising with elements of funk, falsetto soul and some fairly compact rockers.

It’s actually during these walks on the tamer side that Beatsteaks endear themselves more, and leave you pining for more of the same.

The overall feeling of listening to the album, though, is one of missed opportunity. They clearly enjoy unleashing hell, or dropping bombs, but given what they’re actually capable of, this seems like a waste of talent and energy.

Tracks like Bad Brain and As I Please are just so riotous, hardcore and shambolic that the quickly – make that instantly – become tiresome. But just as you may feel yourself reaching for the ‘stop’ button, they throw in a guilty pleasure gem.

Lead single Jane Became Insane sounds like a warped mash-up of The Stranglers, The Strokes, The Hives and The Pixies that drops a deliriously good chorus, and some playful, frolic-laced lyrics. It’s an energetic offering that shows they can temper their enthusiasm to create a genuine tune.

Likewise, the traces of melody shown in the guitar work of Meantime (another Strokes-ian workout of high fun), the heavy but bass-buzzed Cut Off The Top (a heady brew of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against The Machine), and the funky, falsetto grove of She Was Great, which marks such a departure from their signature sound that you may be forgiven for thinking someone has sneakily switched CDs! It’s great.

If only… if only there was more of this kind of diversity and restraint. Then we might have been seriously talking a kick-ass cool album. Otherwise, it’s rather like we said – a missed opportunity.

Download picks: Jane Became Insane, Meantime, Cut Off The Top, She Was Great, Hail To The Freaks

Track listing:

  1. As I Please
  2. Jane Became Insane
  3. Sharp, Cool & Collected
  4. Meantime
  5. Demons Galore
  6. Cut Off The Top
  7. Bad Brain
  8. She Was Great
  9. Solijanka
  10. Hail To The Freaks
  11. e-g-o