Pabst hail from Germany`s capital and largest city Berlin, their sound is one forged from the embers of grunge, garage-rock, punk, and power-pop. The trio, Erik Heise (vocals, guitar), Tilman Kettner (bass) and Tore Knipping (drums) moniker is an acronym for (P)retty much (A)lways (B)ored, (S)ick, and (T)ired. They have toured with Bob Mould and Kadavar and release their new album “Deuce Ex Machina” the follow up to 2018`s “Chlorine.
We get a 1 2 3 4 introduction to `Machina` a laid back slice of almost stoner rock with vocals languidly shared atop although the track seems to take a life of its own as it speeds up for the last minute or so. `Ibuprofen` is a testimonial to the benefits of the said nonprescriptive, over the counter painkiller. A fast-paced rock come punk offering with the wonderful chorus of “Dissolve and take the pain away” There`s also a mid-point part where the drums, guitar and vocals are allowed to shine almost remotely. The song had me in mind of early Smashing Pumpkins.
It would be easy to disregard `Useless Scum` for the title alone but it`s a cracking slice of sleazy rock n roll, the sort of thing that Faster Pussycat, L A Guns and Hanoi Rocks would be happy to call their own. There was a head down non nonsense bang your head on the wall feel about `Legal Tender` presumably about the stuff that makes the world go around. The number is broken up part way with some hand claps before it returns to its speedy garage punk roots.
We all have reason to be annoyed with our hometown at times but `Skyline` is a real scathing attack on Pabst`s city and how alienated they feel from it, It`s set to a slow burn grimy grungy soundtrack that does seem to emphasise their angst and vitriol. At just over a minute in length, the instrumental `Wish.Com` is an ambient break from proceedings and a real curve ball.
`Fugitive (Another Song About Running Away) ` harks back to the grunge era with hollered vocals, screaming guitar riffs, throbbing bass, and pounding drums leaving a trail of destruction behind. A real driving record follows with `Hell` in that, I could imagine the guys flying down the motorway or autobahn while this tale of a Faustian pact is blasted out. A superb pounding number that will have you nodding and tapping along.
Who doesn`t like a song with cowbell and if like me you do, `Straight Line` is the one for you. There`s a beating heart all the way through with the fellas really hitting it out the park on this one. A gritty slice of heavy grungy punk. There`s some wonderfully fuzzy guitars on `Up the Heat` a mid tempo beat that had me harking back to when I first heard Marc Bolan and T Rex, a lifetime ago.
The album crashes out with a real ear worm of a tune with `My Apocalypse` The narrative relates the inability, consciously or subconsciously of the writer to live up to the expectations of others. There`s a superb air of tension bubbling just under the surface with this honeyed submission.
The title “Deuce Ex Machina” relates to a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence. I`m not sure how any of that relates here but I have to say this is a cracker of an album. There are a profusion of influences and styles presented throughout with touches of grunge, garage rock, post punk but all offered in a style of Pabst`s own making. Erik Heise has a rich and enthralling vocal range and has the knack of delivering the right pitch and range to suit each track. Along with Tilman Kettner and Tore Knipping, these boys can certainly blast out a memorable melodic number. On the strength of this, it`s well worth getting (P)retty much (A)lways (B)ored, (S)ick, and (T)ired.