Album Review: Blackout Problems – KAOS

Hailing from Munich, Germany, Blackout Problems are one of the best and brightest new bands coming out of the country. Their blend of soft pop-rock and slightly heavier light post-hardcore tendencies makes their sound a lot more unique than a lot of other bands in the genre, but making the crossover to US and UK airwaves is notoriously difficult for European artists. Of course, anything’s possible if your music’s good enough. So let’s give this album a listen.

I feel like this album is a little lighter than the band’s 2016 debut, Holy- but not by much. The main musical formula hasn’t changed much- it’s just been refined into something much clearer and cleaner. Of course the band turn things up from time to time- there’s no lack of thundering choruses here- but they’re used more tactically. It’s the contrast between the band’s heavier tendencies and their quieter ones that define their sound. And of course, this is all tied together by lead singer Mario Radetsky’s unique voice- which draws you in with it’s softness, and then blows you out of the water with it’s heavier side.

The band’s music is also a lot catchier. Obviously this isn’t a necessity for rock music- as it can pull you in through other means- but it’s also nice to have. ‘Kontrol’ epitomises this, with the band channelling all of their pop sensibilities into a dancey verse and soaring chorus. Sometimes, it’s something intense you want, and the band can definitely deliver that as well, with the thunderous ‘Gutterfriends’. But above all, the best song here is almost definitely the title track. It’s definitely one of the softer songs here, or so it seems, until it crescendos into a beautiful mess of sound towards the end.

The band definitely haven’t revolutionised their sound- but they’ve done the next best thing- refined it down to a minute level, so much that this album is almost unrecognisable from the last despite having the same musical formula. There’s still a long way to go for the band, but if anyone has a chance of crossing over to English airwaves, why not Blackout Problems.

Best songs: Kontrol, Kaos

Score: 7/10

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