Album Review: The Picturebooks – The Hands of Time (Century Media Records)

After relentlessly touring their last two albums worldwide with over 350 shows in the last three years The Picturebooks have gained a lot of self-confidence in themselves. The goal was to add a new vibe to their music while still keeping true to The Picturebooks sound aesthetic.

They didn’t just use their new found inspiration to work harder on the production of “The Hands of Time”, but it also encouraged them to experiment with their genuine sound and introduce new instruments such as piano or tubular bells. They even handcrafted some of their own percussion instruments that they will be taking on the road with them to further spice up their energetic live shows.

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Additionally they mixed a couple of uptempo songs such as “Electric Nights” with their trademark midtempo burners like “The Day The Thunder Arrives” or “Tell Me Lies”. For the first time in the band’s history they have a guest-vocalist on one of their songs: you can hear Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders on the track “You Can´t Let Go”.

“The Hands of Time” is about accepting and celebrating nothing but the truth, the ups and downs of life, the tears and laughter and the deep friendship between the two band members Fynn Grabke (vocals, guitar) and Philipp Mirtschink (drums). It will be released on March 8th 2019 via Century Media Records.

Playing harmonious rock, their time on the road has seemingly strengthened The Picturebooks. What we have here is an eleven-track album that drifts between harder rock groove, softer melody driven moments and foot-tapping added elements. Such as the background harmonica on Like My World Explodes, a track that stirs thanks to its eager vocals.

The title track then sends out a country aura before The Day The Thunder Arrives shows of some real potency and vigour within its beat. It’s got a vibe as though it’s a marching chant, a huge swathe of people protesting against injustice with this as their soundtrack.

It’s a shame that the momentum of that powerful track is halted for the fairly bland and monotonous Electric Nights. While the whistling western vibe of Rain just about works although, even the creaky drum beat nearer the end. It’s just another oddity from a band with an imagination that is running wild here.

The Pictureboooks certainly employ a number of varying styles across The Hands of Time which could make it sound disjointed but it doesn’t happily. Getting a more cheerful and optimistic track in Lizard is a welcome surprise as we reach the final few tracks but it’s a commanding and defiant Tell Me Lies that really impresses.

An enthralling album ends on an unfortunate flat note though as The Rising Fall fails to stimulate anything but an apathetic feeling.

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The Picturebooks – The Hands of Time Full Track Listing:

1. Horse Of Fire
2. Howling Wolf
3. Like My World Explodes
4. The Hands Of Time
5. The Day The Thunder Arrives
6. Electric Nights
7. Rain
8. You Can’t Let Go (feat. Chrissie Hynde)
9. Lizard
10. Tell Me Lies
11. The Rising Fall




The Hands of Time will be available via all major streaming services on release.

The Picturebooks - The Hands of Time (Century Media Records)
  • The Final Score - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
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