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coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 248 - 11/14/16

The Notwist
Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff
Alien Transistor / Sub Pop Records

The Notwist has changed quite a lot over the years since their formation back in 1989. The former punk/metal/post-hardcore unit somewhere on the road turned into electronic, alternative indie pop. Brothers Markus (guitar, vocals) and Micha Acher (bass) have steered their Notwist vessel in various directions throughout an impressive line of records (as The Notwist, or through other projects such as Tied & Tickled Trio, Ms. John Soda, or 13 & God, which was a collaboration with some of the Anticon label players, Themselves). So, are The Notwist Germany's finest? Well, it could be so. They're without doubt one of the glorious Germans, and here is their first live album, Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff.

Superheroes... is a massive documentation of a long career, as it stretches for almost 100 minutes, presenting songs mainly from their albums Neon Golden (2002), The Devil, You + Me (2008), and Close to the Glass (2014), but here is also a track ("One Dark Love Poem") from their 1992 album Nook. However, Superheroes... opens with a string of songs (4) from Close to the Glass, including the title track, plus the fabulous and highly suggestive "Kong". Neon Golden is probably their 'magnum opus' of elegance, bliss and grace, even though I am a big (even bigger) fan of The Devil, You + Me as well. The latter has only three tracks included here: one of them is the superb "Gloomy Planets" (while the second is the excellent, hovering "Gravity"), while here are seven tracks lifted from Neon Golden, including "This Room", "Consequence", "One with the Freaks", "Neon Golden", and "Pick Up the Phone". The indeed fine "Gone Gone Gone" (off The Devil, You + Me) closes this live album, which again shows proof of The Notwist songbook filled with the sound of melancholy and romance. The Notwist are twisting and bending their songs into something even more beautiful and fascinating than they used to be. Many of the songs included here stretch out and glide away as extended versions of the original songs. As an example, Neon Golden's "The Pilot" clocks in almost three times the original's length. The Notwist for sure know how to fly. You'd better check in on one of their flights when possible. Enjoy.

'Mighty Kong!
Please help
I know you're strong...
[...]
It's bliss
'Cause I believe in this
'Cause I believe in this
Superheroes, ghostvillains and stuff
'Cause I believe in this'

("Kong", Markus Acher, 2014)

The Notwist live incarnation feature the Acher brothers, full-time band members Martin Gretschmann (a.k.a. Console) on programming and Andi Haberl on drums, plus Max Punktezahl, Christoph 'Cico' Beck and Norwegian Karl Ivar Refseth. Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff was recorded on the second night of a three-night run (all sold-out) at Leipzig's venue UT Connewitz on 16 December 2015. Like I said: Enjoy.

'Remember how badly we wanted to join them and be part of those seafaring adventures: Jack London's The Sea-Wolf, classic TV shows based on [London's] The Road, on Radu Tudoran's novels... back then, a couple decades ago, the titles of these shows alone were enough to trigger some strong gusts in our hearts, salty squalls perfect for imaginary downwind journeys we dreamed of with billowing sails. We wanted to cruise alongside albatrosses, seagulls, and fellow sailors. Floating high above a three-masted vessel, we watched our own adventures unfold far below...' (vocalist Pico Be, of Das Weiße Pferd, München)

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You may also want to check out our Notwist articles/reviews: Close To The Glass, Kong, Neon Golden, The Devil, You + Me, an interview with Markus Acher.

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