Music Review: Electric Callboy’s ‘TEKKNO’

‘TEKKNO’ just makes you want to sing along and have a good time.

TEKKNO may be the sixth studio album from German band Electric Callboy, but it is the first with a new singer, Nico Sallach. Released last Friday, TEKKNO is a breath of fresh air that makes you want to sing along and have a good time. This highly anticipated release is one for the books.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Electric Callboy put out their smash hit Hypa Hypa, which was a sign of hope in such dark times. Its music video was over the top, featuring wigs, 80s attire, and choreographed dance moves. The band gave us humor and escapism—something that was much needed at the time.

Luckily, TEKKNO is just the same. While it features many addicting songs that use electronic elements and humor, it also has its fair share of really heavy moments.

“Pump It” is the first song on the album, and right off the bat, you get a feel for what you are about to listen to. This song was the band’s audition piece for Germany at Eurovision 2022, an international songwriting contest. When Eurovision announced that Electric Callboy did not win, fans started a petition urging officials to reconsider the piece.  The petition now sits at over 120,000 signatures. While the chorus of “Pump It” is catchy and melodic, the verses feature harsher vocals from their second singer, Kevin Ratajczak. Along with a breakdown at the end of the song, this song shows that the band can combine heavy music with Europop and pull it off well. Once you hear that chorus, it will not leave your head.

After Hypa Hypa came out, we all wanted to know what was next. One year later, in 2021, “We Got the Moves” was released. This song leans more onto the electronic side, but it still features loud guitars and heavier vocals at times. The song’s best part, however, is the electronic dance section after the second chorus. It comes out of nowhere and is a pleasant surprise. Plus, you still get your traditional breakdown after it. Even if you don’t have “the moves,” you still want to get up, dance, and have a good time.

”F*ckboi” is an homage to 2000s pop punk. The song features the American band Conquer Divide. It’s very different from the other singles released before the album came out, but Electric Callboy can really pull off any genre. In essence, this is an Avril Lavigne song, with guitars tuned down and synths added. I’m here for it.

Featuring German singer Finch, “Spaceman” is another excellent song. The chorus is another really catchy one, and Finch’s parts add a fantastic element to the song. I also really love the callout before the breakdown, “VIVA LA ELTON JOHN!” The guitar work here is also really solid. This is another one you just can’t resist dancing to, and Kevin’s heavy vocals during the verses are outstanding on this one too. The music video is the best part, though: Nico and Kevin fly in space in a spaceship with a mustache while the band plays on Mars, and Finch dances with an alien in the space station. It’s great.

Next up is the most serious song on the album. It shows that while the band can have a fun time, they also know how to implement serious topics when necessary. “Mindreader” is more on the melancholic side, but it’s heavy, with more screaming than singing. The chorus is emotional, and the breakdown feels like a release of energy. There are lots of electronic elements mixed in, and Nico does a great job singing the choruses.

“Arrow of Love” is about spreading love and making sure everyone has a good time. The song leans more on the heavy side, while the chorus leans into the electronic side. The effects on the vocals during the chorus are definitely unique. It makes it sound like multiple people are singing when in reality it’s just one. Really cool riffs in here too. The use of a 7-string adds to the heaviness and fits well in the song.

“Parasite” is the most electronic song on the album. However, it still has guitars and stellar vocals from both singers. The electronic parts work really well, and the breakdown mixes electronics with heavy guitars seamlessly. The chorus may not be the best on this album, but it still has its moments, like its drums. There are lots of cool fills in the song. Additionally, the use of an AI-sounding voice adds to the song in a nice way too. It’s not the best song on the album, but it’s still one solid track.

“Tekkno Train” is the most joke-filled song on the album. For instance, during the breakdown, Kevin sings, “Choo Choo Choo Choo Choo Choo Riding in the Train…” Still, I like how silly it is. The guitar work here is great, and I like how you can really hear the bass stand out and have a prominent role. The drums don’t play singular beats, which adds to the song’s uniqueness. The breakdown is heavy and features lots of chugging and thrash-sounding elements.

“Hurrikan,” which is German for hurricane, was made to make fun of “German Schlager,” a genre of music that is very pop-focused. A lot of people describe it as “Germany’s version of country music,” but many Germans despise the genre. The song starts off in this style, and the lyrics talk about how odd the genre of music is. Halfway through the song, it switches to deathcore, and it becomes the heaviest song they have ever made, featuring pig squeals, blast beats, and growls, all in under 2 minutes.

“Neon” is less of a song and more of a “closer” to the album, featuring mostly instrumentals and the occasional chorus with heavy instrumentals here and there. I see “Neon” as a thank you to Electric Callboy’s fans. Nico sings, “I want to thank you, thank you for giving us a chance.”

TEKKNO is one of the most unique albums I’ve heard all year, and I love it. Electric Callboy deserves all the attention they get. They have such an eccentric sound and stand out from other bands as their own. They really care about what they make, and TEKKNO proves that. This album was definitely worth the wait.