Ballast Der Republik is the new offering from Germanic rockers Die Toten Hosen. Released back in May, this album is as eclectic as it is a novelty. Offering a mix of slower ballads and shout-along-in-a-rough-phonetic-way-despite-not-speaking-German Anthems
It is a strange phenomenon in the Musical world that bands from English speaking countries like England and America can find mass international fame worldwide, yet artists from other countries fail to make an impact on anything other than niche markets. This needs to change as there are some truly decent foreign acts out there.
These Punk-Rockers have really managed to get the art of writing good riffs, catchy lyrics and memorable hooks down. Whilst the album has a few weaker tracks, and tracks which seem rather indistinct (which is the problem with the majority of more modern rock bands I find), songs like the new (Oct 2012) single Altes Fieber really have power and a kind of epic quality that you can imagine a large crowd singing along with. Whereas on the slightly folksy track Ballast Der Republik, there is a definite Viking and pirate-rock influence. Die Toten Hosen don’t skimp out on the emotional level of their tracks either, without knowing anything of the meanings of the lyrics, there are the odd riff and melody to tug at the heartstrings in a precise, stereotypically Germanic way.
The major criticism of this album is that it seems a bit too polished for my taste. Everything feels precise and digital, which detracts from the rock n roll ethos this band seems to be struggling to keep hold of.
3 chord power rock style of the band does have the potential to get repetitive, especially as there are 16 songs on the album, barely any of which are much over 3 minutes long. However the different ways in which the formula is treated means that there is enough variety to keep the listener interested.