Cracking the spine of midnight bleary-eyed wanderers, with sample and DAW comes the Notwist. The band’s latest album Close to The Glass is worthy of praise and (re)inspection. Its unsettling open hand melodies could lull you to wakefulness, before drawing you back to a days-past slumber. You’ll find metaphors come easy. Hunger becomes hopeful. In short, you need to listen to this album, if only once while making a decision that seemed important before you hit play.
Close to The Glass is an adventurer’s album. Dark soundscapes are tempered by lyrical oddities and warm guitars. Each song is more akin to an unexplored room, a crested hill, or a slow descent down a coral reef than a labor of art, though that is evident as well. The Notwist has, for some time, worked its way from doomy German metal to this bustling electronic climax. That long effort shows everywhere, marked by equal parts restraint and innovation. Tracks like “Run Run Run” would be right at home in an avant-garde retelling of Blade Runner or Neuromancer. While “Kong” is a hand-holding skip to the arcade on a Sunday afternoon. Each in turn plays into larger themes of youth and expression, both bodily and cerebral.
At this point, it would be my usual cadence, dear reader, to regale you with the tempered hand of failure. And yes, the album does falter from time to time (the second half being a bit weaker than the first, though, not Band of Horses level drop off). But in certain cases, this one included, such shortcomings are the mark of excellence as we struggle to quash our wonderment with cynicism.
Find your own.
Close to The Glass is a staggering achievement of genre-bending honesty. Invasive, gentle, mellifluous, lovely, and light, the Notwist has finally achieved excellence.
Now shut up and buy this album.
Listen if you like:
A strange journey, Sundays