The Deadnotes – Courage

Rating: 2/5
Distributor/label: 22Live Records
Released: 2020
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Band Website:

Band line-up:

Darius Lohmüller – vocals/guitar
Jakob Walheim – vocals/bass
Yannic Arens – drums


1. Makeup
2. Never Perfect
3. Ghost on the Ceiling
4. Cling to You
5. Failsafe
6. Functionality
7. I Must Have Been Blind
8. Fickle Fake Friend
9. Get Lost, Get Found
10. Hopeless Romantic


Being a music journalist is a double-edged sword for your musical palate because you can be introduced to some of the best new music of any scene before the rest of the world, or you can be given schlock that reminds you of what you think is dreadful on the airwaves and why.

This album sadly falls into the latter for this critic. Courage, the new album by German Pop Punk group The Deadnotes (the genre name alone makes me cringe given how punk is meant to be all things non-pop), is a putrid example of why any kid who was growing up in a boring affluent town in the mid-noughties felt music was dead to him because there was no rage or angry themes in music that was deemed ‘rebellious’.

The heydays of Pop Punk and Emo are gladly behind us, but there are some who keep it alive in all its embarrassment, such as this German group. From the moment I had to turn this record on, I was flooded with painful memories of all things I can’t stand about pop punk: dull guitar riffs that are a little heavier than normal but aren’t ballsy enough to go fast; sad and stomach-churning lyrics about how the world is ending for the vocalist having just lost a loved one; and irritating shouts from the rest of the band – which could evoke anger and revolution but not when all you’re on about is how sad you’re feeling.

I’ve nothing against music that is depressive in nature, it’s simply the fact pop punk and emo are not what I would call the ideal ways to express such emotions. All music is emotional to an extent, but these genres of rock music have never piqued my palate and I was glad when ‘Hopeless Romantic’ finally finished.

Unimpressive and unoriginal is how I’d describe this record. But to all the kids out there who did dig this sort of thing during its heyday and still seek it out today, give it a spin for it might be suitable to your palate – which I could easily be wrong over but this guy wasn’t the right critic for this release.

Review by Demitri Levantis