Guilty Guitars - Out Of Range

10 songs
41:30 minutes
***** ****
(self released)


Success can be a bitch! Hamburg based indie rock trio Guilty Guitars have decided that the pressure of the music business has become too much for them, making their fifth record Out Of Range unfortunately also their last. Being familiar with most of the band’s oeuvre, I know of course that the given reason for the split-up is not meant seriously, but it still hurts to see these three talented Germans leave us, considering that Out Of Range is their most mature effort yet.

I first got to know Guilty Guitars with their second record Walk By Your Side (2006), a fine example of an EP which was followed by the longplayer In Need Of Now (2008), once again a good piece of guitar driven indie rock, even if focus was lacking occasionally. In 2010 they regaled their fans with the remix album RMXD, a fun affair although quite different from what they did before. The band’s swan song is titled Out Of Range, consists of ten tracks ranging from short material to epic monsters, and combines all of their virtues in compact forty minutes.

The opener Souled Out is an instant rocker that gives a good glimpse of the three-piece’s dynamic approach. The guitar is fierce and distorted, the bass guitar also packs quite a punch, the drums build a steady foundation, and the vocals have a kind of pleasant pathos that younger people may relate to Placebo, although the older generations may discover hints of Dacid Bowie and Bryan Ferry. The following The Odds start with a heavenly distorted bass line before the remaining instruments kick in. The most striking thing about the new material how catchy the material has become. Apart from two exceptions, the songs never run longer than four minutes. Only Egg & Knife and Hidden Love cross the seven minute border and allow the band in the second half of both songs to freak out on their instruments, recalling the golden days of German indie noise rock from the Nineties. Of course the band also knows how to keep things more relaxed, where especially the short Letterbox recalls the early Violent Femmes with its undeniable country touch.

I would never dare to call Guilty Guitars an original sounding band, but they sure as hell are awesome songwriters who furthermore know exactly how to combine the noisy school of German indie rock with the pathos of British rock and occasionally the expansive walls of guitar of American branding that in the end they still manage to sound absolutely refreshing.

By the way Out Of Range is a limited edition white vinyl release that is of course also available as a digital download purchase. This is also the best place to start discovering this now unfortunately defunct band, and despite my disappointment over the band’s demise, I am still grateful for their music, especially for their last and most magnificent album.

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