"It is oh so obvious"
may be the first words on the new The Notwist record, but it's a fact that throughout its twentyfive year's existence, the band has never been too keen on "obvious". Case in point: the jarring transition between title track 'Close To The Glass', with its marvelously bouncy bass line, and 'Kong', perhaps the most catchy Notwist song since modern classic Neon Golden
. Estranging and engrossing, Close To The Glass
is a splendid addition to the catalog of the influencial Germans.
Their unique combination of indiepop and electronics - often imitated, never surpassed - delivers some fine cuts again, opposed to the somewhat disappointing The Devil, You + Me
from 2008. Take 'Into Another Tune', for example: an orchestral chamber pop piece which gradually transforms into a hypnotizing dance track, still built from acoustic instruments. 'From One Wrong Place To The Next' is the song that leans most closely to Radiohead, this time around - every Notwist album has one of those - although a typical German rigidness rears its head as well. Elsewhere, 'Seven Hour Drive' represents The Notwist in shoegaze modus and is actually more enjoyable than half of the songs on last year's m b v
The album loses some steam towards the end, though. The nine minutes of 'Lineri' are rather uninspired ambient house of which there is already an overload on the market these days. And 'Steppin' In' lacks the rhythmic backbone that made earlier hits like 'Trashing Days' or 'Pick Up The Phone' such a success. Aside from these minor nibbles, Close To The Glass
is a fine and welcome addition to the The Notwist catalog and a pleasant enrichment of the Neon Golden
sound. A must for fans of eccentric pop music.