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The Devil, You + Me

The Notwist

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Album Review

After all that time spent developing, or (to be more kind) bouncing from place to place, beginning with scraggly post-hardcore (The Notwist, Nook) and then moving to relatively streamlined and occasionally melodic post-hardcore (12) and then abstract electronics (Shrink), the Notwist delivered a smart and song-oriented synthesis of the organic and synthetic on Neon Golden. And then, for six years, nothing, unless a remix EP and a soundtrack contribution count. The length between Neon Golden and its follow-up was twice the length of time between any two other Notwist albums, a gap that can be partially attributed to the members' several outside projects. Despite involvement in a number of varied recordings since their last album, The Devil, You + Me is as much a natural extension of Neon Golden as Nook was an extension of The Notwist. As subdued as ever, all the while retaining a sense of tension that has been a constant throughout its discography, the band makes only slight refinements. The most notable change is the incorporation of the 21-member Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, who add further intensity to tightly wrapped songs like "Where in the World" (where escape is sought but impossible to achieve) and "Hands on Us" (which might be the album's most affecting and downcast song, despite its lyrical vagueness). The album could pass as a slightly more dramatic, comparatively spindly, and male-fronted alternate of Scary World Theory, the excellent 2001 release from central Notwist member Markus Acher's Lali Puna. It has that same slightly unnerved but ultimately comforting effect, and like Neon Golden, you might want to take it everywhere with you, even when you can only replay it in your mind.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Weilheim, Germany

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed near Munich as a post-hardcore band, the Notwist gradually began to embrace a fusion of classic '80s indie pop songwriting and scruffy electronic backings indebted to Oval and Autechre. The quartet comprises brothers Markus and Micha Acher (on vocals/guitar and bass, respectively) plus programmer/keyboard player Martin Gretschmann and drummer Martin Messerschmid. Their self-titled 1989 debut and 1992's Nook were rough-and-tumble punk LPs. Third album 12 marked the group's first flirtation...
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The Devil, You + Me, The Notwist
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