The Notwist - The Devil, You and Me

‘The Devil, You and Me’ is gracefully melancholic piece of work that has been more than worth the wait.

Label: City Slang

Rating: 8

The German indie rock band return following what seems to be an age after the well received previous album, ‘Neon Golden’. Six years down the line sees the band steer well clear of the band’s grunge metal roots, instead choosing the path that closely follows the indie meets electronica feel of it predecessor. Such a large amount of critical acclaim was laid onto ‘Neon Golden’ that in many ways any follow up would, by default, prove only to disappoint, but ‘The Devil, You and Me’ does come reassuringly close.

Although it does little in the way of treading on new ground, its hard not to fall for the toe tappingly catchy title track, or marvel at the way the band seem to seamlessly get away with the repeated drum loops best sampled in the aptly titled ‘Gravity’. If at some point in the future, the sub genre acoustic gloom ever takes off,The Notwist would certainly be at the forefront, their stripped down sound, never more so than in ‘Sleep’, a perfect medium through which to convey their conflict laden tunes of self doubt. Yet the Bavarian band never allow the album to become boring.

The Notwist inhabit a world that is wonderfully bleak, with more than just a nod at Radioheads’ more recent output at times, what ultimately makes the album work so well is its marriage of subtle guitars and electronica. The dreamy feel of Where in the world, for example, belies the fact that underneath its programmed beats and hypnotic melody lies a fizzling undercurrent of menace. Last track ‘Gone Gone Gone’ on the other hand is a melting pot of heartfelt musicianship that delights no end, its sentimental glow lingering long after the track has finished. It is a straightforward and unpretentious end point for what is predominately an album that grows with every listen. At times a fitting tribute to Depeche Mode’s ‘Ultra’, ‘The Devil, You and Me’ is gracefully melancholic piece of work that has been more than worth the wait.