thenotwist

Now entering their 25th year, The Notwist’s stylistic picaresque has taken their listeners on a journey from early 90s heavy metal to the pop-tinged crunching electronica of their 2002 mainstream breakthrough ‘Neon Golden’. Math-, jazz-, indie- and any number of hyphenated incarnations of rock have been touched upon in between, in an evolution that must rank amongst modern music’s most complete.

This, their ninth album hints at each of the aforementioned micro genres, which gives the collection of songs the odd feel of a retrospective. Its title track and first single, for example, throws us in at the deep end of a pool of relentless synthesised aggression. The results are wonderfully disorientating, all the more satisfying for the song’s courage. Its pummelling Knife-esque groove, however, gives way to the paint by numbers indie of second single ‘Kong’, and it’s this jarring dichotomy that sets the tone for an album that feels glued together and ultimately lacking in the conviction to leave anything out.

It’s a story that plays out across the LP. ‘The Fifth Quarter Of The Globe’’s 49 haunting seconds are infinitely more interesting than the sum of ‘Kong’’s Postal Service schtick or ‘Casino’’s unconvincing acoustic earnestness, while the Liars-inspired ‘Into Another Tune’ turns further and further into itself, building tension with a skill that forces you to question the need for ‘7-Hour-Drive’’s Britpop whimsy. It would form a solid starting point for newcomers to the band, but ‘Close To The Glass’ excels when it dares to explore.

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