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coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 215 - 03/16/14

The Notwist
Close To The Glass
City Slang (Eur) / Sub Pop (US)

Close To The Glass is The Notwist's 7th studio album (not counting their 2009 soundtrack album, Storm). The former hard-core band have taken many twists and turns on their path, via punk and metal, into indie-rock and electronica, as well as collaborating with the Californian underground hip-hop duo Themselves under the moniker 13 & God. Tagged as a band of the 'plinkerpop' genre, The Notwist are now most definitely in their blip and blop mode this time, with bleep and bloop sounds and moods compared to their last album, the more organic The Devil, You + Me (2008). Their label describes the album being: "As romantic as it is robotic, Close To The Glass is a bottomless collage; part pop song, part science, part band, part storytelling and all Notwist."

The band have toured with songs from Close To The Glass since late 2012, and the album's teaser, the fabulously über-cool and catchy single Kong appeared in January. The first single off the album, the title track, was put out back in November, and it's nice to welcome back this brand new album - their first proper album in six years. The quartet - Markus Acher (guitar, vocals), Michael Acher (bass), Martin 'Console' Gretschmann (programming), and Andi Haberl (drums) - for sure is an innovative and pioneering combo, with their entire genre surfing and style blending. Their albums are personal and touching, and their songs give you an impression of being highly visual, like in cinematic. To quote their label once more: "...[the Notwist] make this careful and banging, private yet pop, post-everything music, for the movie going on inside you."

Alongside The Notwist and 13 & God, the Acher brothers have been involved with other quality projects as well; Markus with the excellent Lali Puna, and Michael in the likewise cool Ms. John Soda. This means they are for sure one creative couple of brothers, as well as being a creative band altogether. The band aims and hits rather impressively good, being a precise and focused unit on their mission. The instrumentation and programming fits like hand in glove, and, again, their label is quite to the point when stating: "While the band always creates music ripe with authenticity and mood, we find them now defining their edges with no shortage of bravery or beat." Close To The Glass's twelve tracks is an excellent mixture of their pop engagement and their exploration in the fields of sound and rhythm. Not all tracks are immediate and 'easy', but as a whole the album is very, very good and highly melodic. "Kong" is awesome, and there are many fine moments throughout the album, such as the playful opener "Signals"; the indie-popper "7-Hour-Drive"; the low-voiced electro-ballad goes running'n'rolling "Run Run Run" (no, it is not a Velvet Underground cover); the suggestive and semi-monotone "Into Another Tune". Plus, of course, the very relaxed "Steppin' In", contrasted by the eminent electro-pulsating instrumental "Lineri". The album closes neatly with "They Follow Me", which is a slow-motion ghost dance through the shadows of a big city. Graceful. To the end.

Close To The Glass proves a self-confident band, with a heart and mind full of soul. Make that four hearts, and four minds. This is a modern 'Mensch-Maschine'. Electronica pop holding programming with a human touch.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Notwist articles/reviews: Kong, Neon Golden, Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff, The Devil, You + Me, an interview with Markus Acher.

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