German ska-punk rocks! You can stay 8/10
I did not know that there was a burgeoning third wave of ska in Germany, let alone the fact that Rantanplan who formed in 1995 were so much fun. Featuring only one founder member Torben Meissner (guitars/ vocals), the young Hamburgers were inspired by the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones and their influence on the band is strong, but Rantanplan are not derivative. The band deliberately chose to create material in their native tongue as they lacked confidence in their spoken English. The title is a play on Stay Rude, Stay Rebel by No Sports (1991), where rudel translates as pack. There was a tradition within Germanic ska style allegedly, which likened style (and influenced band names) based on fighting dogs. Rantanplan (loosely taking the mick of Rin-Tin-Tin) was a cartoon dog, with little interest in much other than food. Non-aggressive and humorous. This could be a double play on words, but whether it refers to the founding members that departed the pack in 2001 to form Kettcar, I know not.
Stay Rudel- Stay Rebel is their tenth studio album release and it is recorded live. Not as in a live gig performance (which is often then doctored for release), but rather capturing the sound of talented musicians, delivering what they do best. As upbeat as Mad Caddies and as exuberant as Snuff your listening pleasure will not be diminished if you are unfamiliar with the German tongue.
The album kicks off with Stay Rudel – Stay Rebel (Stay Pack – Stay Rebel) is a neat ska-punk track with a sing-a-long chorus (you can pick up the basics and check out in the video). This is a feelgood blast of uptempo fun and includes Ingo and Guido Knollmann (Donots), Joshi (ZSK), Benno Kupsa (Der Wahnsinn) and Pedi as guests.
The bass driven, incredibly groovy Foodporn (#nofilter) with its primal rhythms and unexpectedly welcoming horns is a blast of a rock tune. Kain Richtung Heimat (Cain Coming Home) brings us back to a bouncy ska-punk vibe while Maschine (Machine) is a groovy almost a punk-dub-reggae beast, with a contagious beat.
An/Aus (On/Off) is faster and punkier with a complete absence of horns but does feature Flo v. Schwarz (Pyogenesis). Nachtzug nach Paris (Nightrain to Paris) is almost a ballad, comparatively! Starting in an almost 40’s style swing band, with crooner-esque vocal delivery the chorus steers us back into more familiar territory. The delivery is incredible as is the composition and features N’gone Thiam (Delaydies / Jan Delay’s Disco No.1)
Partytrick features Sprinder (Liedfett), Der Flotte Totte (Monsters of Liedermaching) and is a more rootsy affair with a 2Tone reggae feel which continues into the bouncy Rudegirl from outta Space which has a slightly more modern feel. Kill Den Spiegel (Kill the Mirror) slows the pace slightly before rocking out brilliantly
The Rudel (The Pack) is the briefest of songs featured and is a pared back semi-acoustic number which is focused on the vocal and the vocal harmonies give the track weight and poignancy.
This is in all a great fun album, the musicianship and composition is brilliant and it’s a brave band that releases live studio recordings these days. Whether it is the quality of the tracks sent over for reviewing purposes, which may be of lower quality than the actual release or the in-house production, but it is a little flat in texture. I like the retro/ lo-fi style, the live recording and I love the material, but some tracks are distinctly ‘fuller’. A minor irritation, though.
01 – Stay Rudel – Stay Rebel
02 – Foodporn
03 – Kain Richtung Heimat
04 – Maschine
05 – An/Aus
06 – Nachtzug nach Paris
07 – Partytrick
08 – Rudegirl from outta Space
09 – Kill Den Spiegel
10 – The Rudel
Stay Rudel – Stay Rebel will be released January 25 and can be purchased here
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