Year 4, Day 21: Donots – ¡Carajo!/¡Karacho!

Year 4, Day 21: Donots – ¡Carajo!/¡Karacho!

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Track List

  • English version (¡Carajo!)
  1. I Will Deny
  2. No Part of It
  3. All the Weight of the World
  4. Problem What Problem
  5. You an Never Be Alright
  6. Damage
  7. Faster
  8. Head Up High
  9. I’m on My Back
  10. Stray Dog
  11. The End of the World Was Yesterday
  12. Better Than That
  13. No Matter What
  14. Camden Station, 1 AM
  • German version (¡Karacho!)
  1. Ich mach nicht mehr mit
  2. Dann ohne mich
  3. Junger Mann zum Mitleiden gesucht
  4. Problem kein Problem
  5. Du darfst niemals glücklich sein
  6. Kaputt
  7. Wetter
  8. Kopf bleibt oben
  9. Hier also weg
  10. Straßenköter
  11. Das Ende der Welt ist längst vorbei
  12. Besser als das
  13. Immer noch
  14. Hansaring, 2:10 Uhr

About the Album

¡Carajo! is the tenth studio album from veteran German punk rockers, Donots. In the band’s native Germany, they released the same album only titled ¡Karacho! and sung entirely in their native language, German. The German version was February 20th 2015, while the English version was originally released on May 27th 2015 in Japan only, but was released through OK!Good Records in the United States on March 4th 2016. The original German version hit number five on the German charts.

Thoughts on the Album

The Donots, a punk rock outfit from Ibbenbüren, Germany, are one of the best known punk bands in their native country and probably throughout Europe. Their style of punk and music is in the same vein as fellow veteran German punk rockers, Die Toten Hosen and Die Ärzte. The style of punk is melodic, loud, and sharp. In February of 2015, the Donots released ¡Karacho! their tenth studio album. It was also the band’s first studio album sung in their native language.

Flash forward to today (March 4th 2016), and the veteran punk rockers have released an English language version of their tenth studio album. Today’s album is the English version of ¡Karacho! titled ¡Carajo!. Does the English version pack the same punch and snarl that the German does? Let’s find out!

One of the first things that I noticed after listening to both versions, was that both versions display the band’s versatility. The album isn’t just pigeonholed into one specific genre, but rather adapts itself flowing from track to track. Tracks I Will Deny and No Part of It, while punk anthems, I could see 70,000+ people at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia, PA moshing to as well as singing along to.

One of the key things for me in what makes a great album besides versatility, is diversity.I like when an album’s tracks sound diverse, but not so diverse where there is no flow or consistency from track to track. With ¡Carajo! the tracks are as diverse as the lyrics and themes found throughout the album.

Speaking of sound, Ingo Knollmann’s vocals are as sharp as ever. His rough and howling voice calls out to the listener. This is evident on the opener, I Will DenyI Will Deny is a giant arena rocker. If you happen to see their performance at Rock am Ring last year, they played a version of Ich mach nicht mehr mit with two other drummers, most notably Vom from Die Toten Hosen and Flo from Sportfreunde Stiller. This song is meant to be played live in front of thousands of people.

The following track, No Part of It (Dann ohne mich in the German version) is a track that was written about the current refugee crisis throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. Much like Die Ärzte‘s Schrei nach Liebe, it is an anti-fascist/anti-Nazi anthem. Hell, it could (and probably should) be used as an anti-Trump/anti-xenophobia anthem. It is a heavy political anthem, that calls out the right-wing extremists everywhere. It’s got this dance-punk vibe to it only with heavy and roaring guitars and a soaring. I found myself shouting along to the message of the song

If this is really all there is then, I WANT NO PART OF IT!

All the Weight of the World has a classic rock feel to it before. It’s almost as if they borrowed the riff from The Eagles‘ Hotel California before transitioning to a ska sound with Problem What Problem. It makes for not just an excellent transition but a unique sound that highlights the band’s over two-plus decades of experience touring and recording. One of the things that also makes an album great is an excellent introduction and conclusion… in other words, an excellent opener and excellent closer. The Donots make sure close out the album with the unbelievably raw and beautiful, Camden Station, 1 AM. I almost expected to hear Camden Station, 1 AM in whatever the latest coming of age movie out in theaters is. It’s an ode to youth and happiness. Just sharp, crisp and pure vocals combined with an acoustic guitar riff; even has a call back to a previous album: “we’ll take the long way home”.

Let’s miss the train out, we’ll find our own way home.

Conclusion

Versatility, diversity, and rock… those are three words that you never expect to hear in the same sentence. But the Donots have created an album that is both versatile and diverse, but manages to keep their classic punk rock sound. They injected life into their old style and an aging genre of rock music that will create fans of punk for generations to come. I’m always glad to buy a Donots  and ¡Carajo! is no different. Give it a listen, you may find you’ll like what you hear.

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