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The Picturebooks - Home Is A Heartache album review

Deutschlanders bring the diesel and dust

Cover art for The Picturebooks - Home Is A Heartache album

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.