Britpop / Britrock made in Germany – that’s a likely the best short description you can do about the Berlin band Pictures. On 28th January 2022, the band will release their second album, It’s OK. I had a listen.
Pictures – About The Artists
The origins of Pictures are already in the very early 2000’s. In Bad Bentheim in Northwest Germany, the very promising grunge band Union Youth was founded. Just some five years after the first steps of the band and three rather successful albums later, they broke up again. A key person of this band was the charismatic singer and guitarist Maze Valentin, who struggled a lot and finally had to go through the tough process of a drug withdrawal. the faith of the band has even been described in a documentation movie. He (as: Matze Exler) and another former Union Youth member, drummer Michael Bowy Borwitzky decided to go for a new project, Pictures. The other two band members are Ole Fries (guitar, vocals) and bassist Markus Krieg. They are based in Berlin.
The band had quite some success from the very beginning. In 2017, they released the EP Kind of Promise, followed by their debut album Hysteria in 2019. It’s OK is the band’s second album.
Pictures – It’s OK – Track by Track
The twelve songs long 41 minutes.
1. It’s OK
The album opens with the title track. There is, without a doubt, a touch of Oasis in the ear of the listener. However, the sound is very straight and pure. Thus, so far, the Germans feel to do it better to me.
The catching element of Repeater is the happy-humming main theme in the background. A touch of surf pop – but the guitars give you the right rock feeling as well. I love the work on the instruments in here – they lead to one of my favorite songs even though I prefer some of the vocal performances on this album more.
Rockets is having a nice indie-style. I even think about some electro-rock bands while listening to the third track of the album. The performance on the microphone is very energetic. You just have to listen to this song while the album is running.
4. In The Morning
The fourth song comes with a lot of chords and riffs and volume, but overall feels a bit too simple to me. Definitely one of my least favorite songs.
5. Who Took The Soul
After this listening experience, I am glad to be able to relate better to the next song. Who Took The Soul comes with some dirty garage sound, a lot of presence and, especially, a catching melody. Very nice listen.
Shivers works with a lot of echo and atmosphere. To me, the song rather feels to me like an intro than an individual and unique track – you just wait when things are really starting off – but then, after some 2:30 minutes, the song is over.
7. Good Day
Even though Good Day feels to start with a somehow boring drum computer style rhythm, you just listen to the song. This illustrates the vast talent and the catching character of Matze Exler / Maze Valentin’s voice. The song could be as needless as Shivers, but the focus on the guy on the microphone spreads at least some magic.
8. Purple Walls
The chords, the vocals, the distorted sound – Purple Walls does not sound to colorful, it is a rather dark track. However, this leads to a very individual character of this song. Nice one.
9. Happy Afterlife
You cannot say that the lyrics are very deep, especially in the chorus. But Happy Afterlife has a nice touch, it is very catching. And, again, Matze Exler does a great job presenting this job.
This song is a massive surprise on the track list: just one of the song just (barely) made it to a longer duration than three minutes, there is no track longer than four minutes on It’s OK. But there is Mobile, an almost eight minute recording. The song feels like a small storybook by its own. A nice walk through different stages and atmospheres, even though some parts feel a bit lengthy.
I felt like skipping Drifting after a quite short time already. The song does not really feel to be other than monotonous. The middle part, however, suprises with a loud and powerful part. Other sections almost come with a psychedelic touch. I should have better skipped it.
12. Secret And The Lost Empathy
The final four minutes of the album. The song has some nice breaks, but I feel the band pushes a bit too much and works with too strong distortions of their sound.
Pictures – It’s OK – Spotify
Here is It’s OK on Spotify:
Pictures – It’s OK – My View
It’s OK is like a rollercoaster ride to me: there are so many ups, nice turns, there is energy, a very talented vocalists. But some songs are too much heading for the extremes, the do not feel like there is a common link between them. The title track is so good – and some other songs are really nice listens as well. But overall, I rather feel the album is upper average.
Music in Berlin
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