The Notwist - Close To The Glass
- Harris Brine
- 18 February 2014
The intrepid experimentalists deliver a genre-dissolving LP
(City Slang Records)
Even in the six years since the German group's sixth album The Devil, You + Me, a lot has changed, thanks to exponential growth in technology.
Appearing unfazed by it all, Close To The Glass inadvertently celebrates the band's quarter century, and thankfully, it's one worthy of popping a few champagne corks, mostly because of the genre-dissolving nature of the album, with more twists and layers than a Christopher Nolan film.
An infant Notwist poured out hardcore and jazz-infused records, and their modus operandi – intrepid experimentation – looks to have placed them in good stead.
Like confetti, genres are thrown up into the air, though where they land feels even more arbitrarily-chosen than anything before. This paves the way for criticism, though the incongruence can equally be interpreted as eccentric rather than just plain discordant.
Juxtapose this with '7 Hour Drive', which smacks of Belle and Sebastian propping up a gnarly Broken Social Scene after a few too many drinks, or even 'From One Wrong Place...', a stuttering strain of loops easily slipped out the back door of Postal Service's studio circa Give Up, and the wild blending becomes clear.
Balanced with subtle carnival whirs and piano, the introspective 'Casino' sees the poetical take on dawn as, 'When the stars fall off the ceiling/ They roll into the sea,' while 'Lineri' spends most of its life sombre before huffing out a big breath of helium-filled optimism.
Those familiar with dial-up connections will have noticed the time-lapses between major changes are dramatically thinning, and Close To The Glass daringly mirrors this well, again validating The Notwist aren't even leftfield; when everyone's out striving on the pitch, they're tucked away in the bleachers, busy having too much fun experimenting to care.
The Notwist play Mono, Glasgow on Sun 16 Mar.