As this reviewer began listening to ‘Courage’, he convinced himself that The Deadnotes were a bunch of young lads from the Midwest of Nowhere, USA, channeling mid-2000s emo/indie rock like Dashboard Confessional. After reading the accompanying PR (about three tracks in) however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was only half right. Young men they are, but in fact the band hail from Freiburg in Germany. ‘Courage’ lends itself to neither of these facts at face value; this is a record full of mature songwriting without the unfamiliarity that some may associate with German rock music.
The band hit some headlines on social media lately with their single ‘Never Perfect’, which is an excellent example of the aforementioned genre crossover. A candid and revealing song in which mental health plays a key theme, the single marks the beginning of a charitable partnership with two organizations offering help to people affected by mental health issues, especially those in the music and arts industries through Help Musicians / Music Minds Matter and Ni9ht-H3lps-Mental Health Support from Germany. The band will begin their efforts by donating 1€ of every tour ticket and 3€ for every turquoise vinyl sold via their band shop, as well as collecting donations at live shows and with more contributions planned for the near future.
“Mental health has always been an important topic for us personally and as a band in the last few years. With “Never Perfect” we decided to explicitly talk about the numerous situations we have come across, where either we ourselves, befriended bands or people we are in contact with working in the music industry have struggled with mental health. We sadly have to admit, that we find more and more people not being able to cope with these situations”, singer and guitarist Darius Lohmüller of the band says.
As a whole, the album is solid. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but I thoroughly enjoyed my listen-throughs and believe that this band have it in them to make an excellent emo record. They make a big sound for a three-piece, which I hope translates to their live performances. They’re in the UK in April, and I may have to check that out for myself.
To conclude, this is a confident and striking compilation of songs that have been beautifully written and produced, with just enough edge to avoid being pigeon-holed as ’emo’, ‘punk’, ‘indie’ or anything else that people may throw at them. Give The Deadnotes a shot.