The Notwist – The Devil, You And Me
For a band that have been around for nigh on 18 years The Notwist could never be described as prolific. Four albums from 1990’s eponymous debut to 2003’s ‘Neon Golden’ and most people had assumed that was that. However, half a decade later and here they are again with ‘The Devil, You and Me’.
I’ve always been a bit wary of ‘Indie Electronica’, so often a guitar band adds a few electronic stylings to enhance their cool, but The Notwist are a genuine fusion. Glitchy beats meld seamlessly with strings, guitars and vocals to create a sound that is uniquely theirs. Imagine Mark Kozeleck singing and Richard D. James providing the backing.
Markus Acher’s vocals hover over the music, he sounds detached, almost disinterested, as the backing squelches and flits around him but against logic it all hangs together and manages to hold the listeners attention.
This is an album that rewards repeated listening, it is full of subtlety and mystery that only reveal itself in time. The opener ‘Good Lies’ is a case in point. Kicking off with a jangly guitar intro it sounds a little mundane at first, but there are things going on below the surface that are not obvious.
Further in, ‘Alphabet’ ups the tempo and the glitch factor and then the title track brings it back down the other side. ‘Sleep’ provides perhaps the most coherent marriage of lovely song and electronica backing with some beautifully manipulated harmonies and bleeps.
For those that feared that ‘Neon Golden’ was not only The Notwist’s opus but also their swansong, ‘The Devil, You and Me’ provides 45 minutes of lovely, grooved and unsettling listening.
Top Tracks: ‘Alphabet, ‘Sleep’.
Released 02/06/08 on City Slang Records