By Phil Cooper
Hot on the heels of their tenth studio album, ‘Stay Rudel – Stay Rebel’, Rantanplan have released six track EP ‘Rudeboys Von Der Reeperbahn.’ Previously only available to fans and collectors as a bonus bundle to the current album, the band have now decided to release it in limited numbers. Since their inception, Rantanplan have been producing ska fuelled rock ‘n’ roll combining up beat 2/4-time, intelligent lyrics and a lively brass section. What can be expected from this additional offering to their highest charting album to date?
Opening with the title track, ‘Rudeboys Von Der Reeperbahn’ immediately establishes to the listener why Rantanplan have achieved the popularity that they have as a ska/punk band. Kicking in with a skank inducing drum and bass groove combined with organ, chopped guitar chords and well-placed brass lines punching through the mix. For a track lasting less than two minutes the feel of the music to come is firmly established. It’s easy for the listener to be pulled in by the catchy hook lines and the repeated lyrics of ‘Two tone reggae mafia’. ‘Finger 13’ ramps things up into a punk charged aggression. The Ska feel is retained, by while the opening track was chilled in its delivery, ‘Finger 13’ packs a punch. The guitars are now overdriven giving more attack to the chord delivery and the bass and drums up the tempo and propel the track onwards. The vocals have a definite feel of aggression with short, sharp vocal lines delivered with a spit and a snarl.
‘Scheiss auf Gestern’ keeps some of the edge from the previous track by including the overdriven guitars and the rhythm section providing more of a driving weight. However, the aggression has been toned down. The brass section makes more of a subtle appearance than the opening track and accentuates the divisions between the song structure as it flows between verse/chorus sections into the breakdown. The chorus section elevates the feel of the track into a more anthemic quality with it’s catchy and clearly defined melody that will certainly work in a live environment.
‘E’ is a showcase in the unbridled fun that can be had from great ska/punk. The brass parts take charge in the chorus sections, punctuating the melody at exactly the right moment to lift the music, combining excellently with the vocal delivery. The rhythm section is once more locked in tight to a solid groove that the listener cannot help but nod their head to, all the while the guitars cut through giving an extra edge to the percussive rhythm. ‘Notaufnahme’ and ‘Wir Kommen nicht aus Trenchtown’ round out the EP.
The former track contains a well-crafted rise and fall dynamic that shifts and builds into a melody driven chorus that will work well to lift any crowd. The addition of extra vocals thickens out the texture with harmonies without overpowering the underlying groove of the track. The same can be said of the guitar solo, it is not overly complicated but serves to add more to the dynamic rise of the track without detracting from the straightforward rock ‘n’ roll simplicity that works so well on the track. The closing track wraps things up with a slice of classic reggae driven ska. A staccato guitar line overlaid with a wah pedal brings in the full band. Off-beat guitar chords link up with the lead line and the rhythm section locks down the groove with a solid bass line and rim shot snare. The brass section overlay the mix with punctured accents and don’t overpower the main melody. It’s still a track with pace and with additional overdriven guitar chords strategically placed in the structure, there’s extra bite to the mix. It’s a track that leaves the listener wanting more come the fade out.
There’s a lot to enjoy on this six track EP. For new listeners to the band, ‘Rudeboys Von Der Reeperbahn’ provides a perfect introduction to what the band are about and what they are capable of. Not only do they excellently and effortlessly combine a catchy and relaxed reggae/ska vibe mixed with the aggression and attack of ska/punk. They wrap it in a bundle of no-nonsense rock ‘n’ roll with their approach. In a short recording there are a number of standout moments such as ‘Scheiss auf Gestern’ and ‘Notaufnahme’. It’s an EP that will provide a gateway to Rantanplan’s back catalogue. For pre-existing fans who haven’t already got hold of the recording, it’s a definite must have for the collection. Indeed, as a stand-alone EP it will make for a fine addition to any record collection whether or not for fans of the particular genre or rock ‘n’ roll fans in general.
- ‘Rudeboys Von Der Reeperbahn’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.
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