REVIEW: Electric Callboy – Tekkno

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Since mildly insane Germans ELECTRIC CALLBOY bounced into the metal scene with their unique style and sound, their popularity has skyrocketed. During the worst of the pandemic, I remember the goofy humor of the “Hypa Hypa” music video lifting my spirits and I definitely wasn’t the only one. I attended their live concert at this year’s Alcatraz Festival in Belgium, and let me just say… the crowd went berserk. It turned into an unreal combination of a moshfest and a rave. You either love them or hate them, but so many people seem to love them. Who can blame them, when their songs are incredibly catchy – they get stuck in your head whether you like it or not. Their sixth effort, “Tekkno” – available September 16th, 2022, through Century Media Records – is no different. 

Their sound is categorized as electronicore, which – as you may know – is the rebellious love child of electronica and metalcore. The genre basically throws harsh metalcore and elements of electronic music into a blender. Bands such as ENTER SHIKARI or ATTACK ATTACK! come to mind as pioneers of this hybrid. The difference between them and ELECTRIC CALLBOY is that these six Germans don’t take themselves too seriously, which makes them very likeable. In “Tekkno,” a mash-up between Eurodance-inspired tunes and brutal djent-sprinkled riffs becomes the norm. The album flashes by like lightning during the first listen, clocking in at about half an hour in total – it’s over before you know it. You are subsequently left with wide eyes and messy hair (or a mullet, who knows). Opener “Pump It” immediately sets the tone, with what can only be described as an ’80s aerobics tune. The hilarious matching outfits come to mind and it’s hard not to start getting pumped up to the beat (pun intended). Much like “Hypa Hypa,” “Pump It” is an incredible earworm. Okay, but let’s face it, almost every ELECTRIC CALLBOY track is. Do I really want to work it out? Why yes, I do, thanks for asking.

Moving on to the album’s first single, “We Got the Moves,” this track is accompanied by a must-see music video, as the party has definitely started. For frivolous lyrics like, “We are young, we are free / sippin’ on booze on a sunny beach,” I’ll gladly bring out my glowsticks. I dare say, the vocals from Kevin Ratajczak and Nico Sallach complement each other perfectly. The band couldn’t have chosen a more fitting new singer. I can also confirm that they sound equally good live. The clean vocals, brutal growls, screeches, and the occasional pig squeal to top it off are all meticulously executed. Moreover, they truly upped their game in “We Got the Moves” by combining a rave-themed breakdown with a conventional one. This is an unexpected yet thrilling move that fits the band’s signature sound extremely well.

The next track, “Spaceman,” was the third single they released and became so popular that fans even petitioned to have ELECTRIC CALLBOY represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest. The fact that they weren’t selected was quite surprising to me, considering that, over the last few years, bands like 2021’s winner Italian MÅNESKIN have become critically acclaimed acts. Featured on “Spaceman” is German rapper/YouTuber/streamer FiNCH, whose quirky rap segments only add to the fun. Even if you don’t understand a word of German, you get the idea when he raps, “Wo sind die Jedi-Ritter? Wo sind die Marsmenschen? Wo sind die Klingon’n?” It’s plain and simple hilarious entertainment.  

“Fuckboi,” featuring all-female Michigan-based CONQUER DIVIDE, is one of the less memorable tracks on the album. It’s not that it’s a bad song, it’s more that the others are so much more flamboyant. This pop punk -inspired track turned out slightly cringey, but remains an entertaining summer tune nonetheless. “Hurrikan” must be the biggest surprise on “Tekkno.” The vibrant, almost sappy melody takes a dangerous, sharp turn at the 1-minute mark into something that seems to come from the depths of hell itself. It’s the epitome of the ELECTRIC CALLBOY formula, a German schlager turned into a deathcore breakdown full of blast-beats, the filthiest of vocals, and psycho riffs. If you want to know what kind of humor defines the band, I suggest you watch the latest “Hurrikan” music video linked below. Warning: not for the faint of heart.

The rest of “Tekkno” follows the same trend of playful, over-the-top choruses with transitions that bitchslap you in the face with their harshness. It’s a happy, psychedelic ride that occasionally turns into a nightmare, like the beautiful chaos that is “Mindreader,” arguably the heaviest track on the album. Still, no matter how chaotic things get, every single song eventually becomes an anthem to sing along to, be it in your car, on a boat, or during the looming zombie apocalypse.

If you felt like something was missing on previous albums, as I did, it looks like everything has come full circle. A certain edge that wasn’t there before has now become the raving pink elephant in the room, packed with never-ending energy and breaking every boundary. Finally and most importantly, these songs will have fans tearing off the roof when played live.

Back in November 2019, when I reviewed their fifth studio album, Rehab,” I could never have guessed that ELECTRIC CALLBOY (still known as ESKIMO CALLBOY back then) would become such a worldwide sensation. I wrote about them growing up and leaving their outrageously exaggerated personas behind. Right now, I can imagine them flipping me off with a tiny hand on each finger (linked below, so you will know what the hell I am talking about), and I am so glad they didn’t take my advice. Their award-winning outrageousness is what got them sky-high on the charts and consistently selling out shows all over the world. As far as I’m concerned, I hope they never change and the hypa hypa lasts forever.

Tracklist

  1. Pump It
  2. We Got the Moves
  3. Fuckboi (feat. Conquer Divide)
  4. Spaceman (feat. FiNCH)
  5. Mindreader
  6. Arrow of Love
  7. Parasite
  8. Tekkno Train
  9. Hurrikan
  10. Neon

Lineup

Kevin Ratajczak – unclean and clean vocals, keyboards, programming

Nico Sallach – clean and unclean vocals

Daniel “Danskimo” Haniß – lead guitar

Pascal Schillo – rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Daniel Klossek – bass guitar, backing vocals

David-Karl Friedrich – drums

Label

Century Media Records

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