The Notwist - Close To The Glass

Once again frighteningly fresh.

Label: Sub Pop / City Slang

Rating:

Absences can be good, nice even. The Notwist’s ‘Close to the Glass’ has arrived at precisely the right moment - just when we’re all about ready for more misery soaked bleeps and bloops. The cards in which The Notwist deal are once again frighteningly fresh; but when they’ve been gone just shy of six years, the German four-piece can’t just give us what we’ve already heard and they’re astutely aware of this. ‘Close to the Glass’ might not be the dramatic reinvention and minor masterpiece ‘Neon Golden’ was, but nonetheless, it begs the question as to why The Notwist still aren’t the indie royalty that they deserve to be.

Harsher and far more direct than its luscious predecessor, ‘Close to the Glass’ mostly ditches The Notwist’s gorgeously morose songs in favour of anxious sketches hastily scribbled down. The songs are fully formed, but stripped back. Most of the tracks aren’t very busy, instead opting for a claustrophobic, paranoid feel. The spaces and sounds feel tighter, but the ambition is anything but. Elements of free-form jazz creep in amongst Zombi-like drones and disconsolate strums. The record is just a hell of a shade darker than their previous material, with tracks that just scream isolation. Whilst there are still cheery atypical indie songs, the undercurrent is thicker and takes a bigger and bleaker role this time around.

Very few of the songs here can be called pretty, but that’s not to say they aren’t enjoyable. The true enjoyment of the record comes from how uncomfortable it can be, despite it’s evident confidence in itself musically. The almost nine minute long instrumental ‘Lineri’, defines the entire tone and sound of the album, despite using so few elements. The title track almost sounds like a drum machine having a nervous meltdown, albeit in the best way possible, while ‘Run Run Run’ is essentially The Postal Service fuelled by vitriol and fear. Each and every track has its own identity that perfectly mixes the familiar with the unfamiliar, which is simply a continuation of what The Notwist have always been best at.