Electric Callboy – TEKKNO (Album Review)

electric callboy tekkno album review

Electric Callboy – TEKKNO 
Released: September 16, 2022

Lineup

Kevin Ratajczak // Unclean Vocals, Programming, Keys
Daniel “Danskimo” Haniß // Lead Guitar
Pascal Schillo // Rhythm Guitar
Daniel Klossek // Bass
David Friedrich // Drums
Nico Sallach // Clean & Unclean Vocals

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The internet has been waiting for this release since Electric Callboy dropped the first single from it, ‘We Got The Moves‘, all the way back in September 2021 – a name change and countless live shows later – we are on the cusp of one of the most highly anticipated (and diverse) records of the year finally landing in our earholes – and to say I’m Big Kev excited would be an understatement!

Kicking off the album is the Aerobics Australia clubcore anthem Pump It‘, the song that was also used as the band’s application for Eurovision 2022 (which the German music committee couldn’t get into) but as metalcore fans, we embraced the sh!t out of it upon first listen. The screams are full, the overall tone is heavy with underlying EDM/synth elements throwing back to the early sounds of acts such as Enter Shikari and Skip The Foreplay – but perfected for an audience in 2022. The juxtaposition of the two core genres in this song set up the expectations for the rest of the album – and as the band have stated in the past, they’re working with genres they love – with the end result proving heavy metal and techno go hand in hand in a weird and wacky way. As for the music video? Well, it’s a prime example of how I explain this band to new potential fans – it’s like a metalcore version of The Lonely Island meets Weird Al Yankovic.

All of the aforementioned elements flow quite nicely into ‘We Got The Moves‘ which could essentially be described as a sibling of ‘Pump It‘, only this time, the heavy chuggy guitars are the main focus outside of the chorus, alongside forceful drums, hard-style synth beats and easily accessible screams and cleans that go hand in hand like a seasoned moshpit fiend and their pop music loving partner at a local show. As for that breakdown? It’s tasty AF and the build-up is going to sound incredible in a live setting! I foresee bodies being flung about the pit like a pair of shoes in a washing machine. This is top-tier genre-crossing with an infectious tongue-in-cheek delivery that only Electric Callboy can pull off! The next track is ‘Fuckboi‘ and this single saw the boys venture into pop punk territory alongside US metal act Conquer Divide, once again showcasing the diverse range of genres this album tackles and the end result of this one alone has been nothing short of amazing. Putting a focus on the punky riffs, it opens with Nico’s clean vocal section drawing us in with his alluring performance and evolves into an unexpected love song about falling for a girl whose friends think you’re a, well, read the song title again!

But let’s not just focus on EC in this synth-metal-pop jam, yes it’s their album, but Conquer Divide offer so much to the mix that literally couldn’t be done without them. The emotion in frontwoman Kiarely “Kia” Castillo‘s delivery really helps the listener feel the message being portrayed here – which is, fuck what your friends think, if you’ve found someone that makes you feel good (and you love seeing their eyes roll back during sexy time) then they’re the one for you. It’s got a new-age Romeo & Juliet aspect to it, and is another one of those songs about forbidden love, but this offering is just so damn catchy and addictive. Seriously, I spent no less than 5 days listening to this on repeat after it came out and I’m still not sick of it yet. As mentioned in my article upon release, over the past few years, we’ve seen alternative love/anti-love songs with upbeat tempos grab your attention and draw you in from start to finish – I likened this duet to Machine Gun Kelly and Halsey‘s ‘forget me too‘ (but with less ego and auto-tune), however, this is leagues ahead of that bop – which I can no longer listen to due to MGK‘s poor life choices…

Spaceman‘ follows; as we already know it features German rapper FiNCH and has been drawing in fans since its initial release in April this year. It’s honestly like the band took elements of as many genres as possible, chucked them in a blender and the end result is an earworm belter that you cannot help but sing along to with every spin. Seriously, it’s 5 months old and I’m still finding myself singing the chorus when it rolls through on my playlists. The screams are few and far between, but if you’re coming here for just the metalcore aspects this band do so well, you’re probably going to have a bad time – So embrace the wacky, cheesy lyrics and that breakdown section which is going to blow minds when they hit the stage at Good Things Festival in December! I’ve included the live version below so you can get an understanding of what you’re in for – and help you get pit ready in anticipation – because you’re gonna need that stamina mates!

Mindreader‘ is our first taste of unreleased material and it opens with a huge atmospheric trance/synth intro that guides us up to a heavy scream section and we’re underway. The verses are metalcore through and through, the chorus is melodic with a hard/rock sound behind Nico’s soft singing, but its David Friedrich who shines in the spotlight with his incredible display of blast beats and frantic drumming throughout. Having not heard this one before, I wasn’t sure how to take it after the first few spins, but it essentially fits as an album filler to drive between the bangers and breakdowns.

If you prefer uptempo clubcore, then ‘Arrow of Love‘ is going to hit you right in your stupid Cheshire grin sporting face. Once again combining everything this band do so well, we’ve got an anthemic chorus of simplistic lyrics that go “I wanna share my love / with everyone around / I wanna spread some love / I’m feeling the beat”; there’s more of a focus on the techno aspects, alongside 80’s inspired synthesisers and catchy screams AND a keytar solo that leads into a juicy breakdown. My EDM phase may have died a long long time ago, but I can just imagine fluoro wearing Browny losing his mind to this at Summafielddayze or Global Gathering (I didn’t go to Stereosonic because I wasn’t ripped enough).

Parasite‘ keeps the rave cave phase alive with an intro that takes me back to listening to the likes of The Prodigy, Deadmau5 and Tiesto before opening up for the chorus with cleans and screams surrounded by bassy synth and background riffs. It’s got a bit of everything from EDM world (minus dubstep) and at times came across as a bit much to digest in one helping. As for the breakdown – have you ever heard a metalcore breakdown blended with rave/trance music? Well prepare yourself to experience whatever the fuck that was hahahahah. By the end of this one, I found myself simply nodding my head along to the beat and even that was enough to cause some tension in my neck. ‘Tekkno Train‘ is PHAT. The bass-filled undertones of this one are going to smack you in the face like a wall of sound (ha!) and you’ll either be down for the ride or find yourself hitting the skip button for something less intense. Nico and Kevin’s dynamics as frontmen for this band are on show here and we really get a great understanding of their newfound combination with this next phase of the band – for the ill-informed, Nico joined the group in 2020 and Electric Callboy really found their true potential with his addition to the group – the dance music fans will lap it up, but I don’t know how the core crew will take to it.

As for ‘Hurrikan‘, well, by now you should know how this song sounds because it was only released as a single last month and goddamn it’s the biggest WTF??? moment on the entire record (or in general for the entire music industry). Starting off with an easy-listening pop/dance beat and German-sung lyrics akin to that of AQUA meets David Hasselhoff – you’ll be wondering what the heck you’re listening to and if someone stuffed up in the tracklisting department, but when that ominous death metal section kicks in just past the halfway point, you’ll be reassured you’re listening to Electric Callboy again. Set this song as your wake-up alarm and you’ll be ready to punch on with anyone/everyone that gets in your way in the minutes that follow. It’s so weird, but oh so right in soooo many ways.

Rounding out TEKKNO is closing track ‘Neon‘ – a power ballad full of soaring anthemic vocals that’ll no doubt induce sing-a-longs once you learn the words. It’s a much slower pace than ‘Pump It‘ and ‘We Got The Moves‘, but manages to bring back the instrumental elements that made those two album openers quality listening. Vocal-wise, think of Michael Bolton meets Chester Bennington (around the ‘BURN IT DOWN‘ / LIVING THINGS album era of Linkin Park), with hard rock/EDMcore vibes and synth-a-plenty, this doesn’t have the same energy as the pit friendly tracks we’ve mentioned throughout, but it serves as the perfect closer and interlude into whatever this band of misfits do next.

I have no doubt in my mind you’ll be asking yourself WTF did I just listen to when you first hear TEKKNO, but if you live and breathe Electric Callboy, the end result shouldn’t shock you as much as you’re probably anticipating. Instead, it’ll open up a new world of possibilities within this EDM meets Metal phase we are currently seeing a rise of throughout the scene, and I wouldn’t be half surprised if more bands/producers head down this path with future releases, especially if they want to try and bring across fans from both respected genre-fields. It’s wacky, unpredictable and arguably one of the funniest releases in recent years, but it just works in so many ways. Sure some tracks are passable but for the most part, it’s a fresh approach to an at times, tiresome and repetitive landscape of breakdowns and blastbeats… In saying that, BRING ON THE LIVE SHOWS!!!

electric callboy tekkno album review

Electric Callboy – TEKKNO tracklisting

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

Rating: 7.5/10
TEKKNO is out Friday, Sept 16 via Century Media. Pre-order here
Review by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul

Revisit my chat with Kevin and Nico on the Wall of Sound: Up Against the Wall podcast here

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About Paul 'Browny' Brown (3491 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Boss Man/Editorial Manager, Moshpit Enthusiast & Professional Beard Grower!