ALBUM REVIEW: The Deadnotes – Courage

Release Date: February 14th 2020
Label: 22 Lives Records


Hailing from Germany, indie-pop trio The Deadnotes have come forth with their eagerly-awaited sophomore album, ‘Courage’.

The offering adopts a slightly more polished sound than 2016’s ‘I’ll Kiss All Fears Out Of Your Face’, veering away from the edgier punk style and instead adopting a more mature sound.

Opener, ‘Makeup’, paves the shape of the record from the get-go. It’s energetic with the instrumentation really leading the track, almost to the point where the importance of the songs message of insecurity and learning to love yourself could easily go unnoticed. Darius Lohmullers‘ vocals are definitely something worth noting, as at times his accent just creeps out into particular words, adding an unusual distinctive touch to their sound.

There’s a strong sense of storytelling throughout too, and the band use their platform to discuss matters that are important to them. An obviously personal record early on, ‘Never Perfect’ deals with mental health issues, a topic that the band are notoriously passionate about campaigning for.

‘Hopeless Romantic’ introduces a new side to The Deadnotes as they begin to delve into politically inspired music. The track looks at how the media influences everyone to always be in competition with one another, and instead the band positively twist this to spread a message of hope and courage for us all to work against this damaging attitude.

The connection between this trio is undoubtedly strong, as a band who formed in their teens and have managed to last almost a decade, this theme of growth is present throughout. ‘Cling To You’, a song revolving around following your instincts and striving to make yourself happy, repeatedly chants “Heard someone screaming ‘Oh My God’ / How did we get so old?”, which interestingly transitions into ‘Failsafe’, with the opening line “I am too young to know what life means” perfectly contradicting this internal ageing conflict that everyone faces.

One of the unfortunate things about ‘Courage’ is that it doesn’t really offer up anything new or particularly exciting, especially in such a current crowded market of indie-pop bands. It’s not by any means a bad record, but it’s very easy to zone out of and makes for a great background listen, and not necessarily something that holds your attention during its ten tracks.

At various points, we do get to tip-toe into some slightly different genres. ‘Functionality’, for example, offers a mild pop-punk sound. The rhythmic drum beat courtesy of Yannic Arrens, combined with its catchy melodic lyrics, gives it a sense of early You Me At Six.

‘Courage’ is a pretty average record. It has its moments and there aren’t necessarily any bad songs, but it’s just lacking that little something to get excited about. They use their music to get across important messages, and it’s vital that there are bands out there doing that within the industry. It’s clear to see why The Deadnotes have stood the test of time and have a loyal fanbase behind them, and don’t think that’s something that we’ll see changing anytime soon.