The Picturebooks - Home Is A Heartache album review

Deutschlanders bring the diesel and dust

Cover art for The Picturebooks - Home Is A Heartache album

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

The Picturebooks are militant about originality. For this second album, German duo Fynn Claus Grabke and Philipp Mirtschink recorded in a rural barn, strapped esoteric Native American percussion to their feet, wrote songs based on imaginary movies and swore off records “so we didn’t get influenced by our idols”.

Home Is A Heartache isn’t as mould-breaking as that suggests. There are hints of Kasabian in the seismic drums and ahh-ahh vocals, and a whiff of the White Stripes in the garage-blues slide that underpins Grabke’s wildman delivery. Yet it’s utterly immersive, like the soundtrack to a doomed road trip. The wolf howls of the title track, the manic bottleneck of I Need That Ooh, the boggle-eyed campfire madness of Cactus – all are moments to transport the listener from suburbia to the Mojave Desert.

Most striking is Inner Demons: a slow-burner that recreates Grabke’s panic attacks in sound. It’s a fitting end to a brave – and occasionally brilliant – album.

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.