German brothers Markus and Michael Acher have recorded with programmer Martin "Console" Gretschmann and drummer Andi Haberl as the Notwist since 1989. The group was introduced to the U.S. in 2002 via its fifth full-length, Neon Golden, which brought an IDM–indie rock hybrid to the fore. The Notwist continues to straddle pop and electronic styles with its sixth release, The Devil, You + Me, as upfront guitars and digitally-furrowed glitches wind around one another.
Compared with Neon Golden, The Devil, You + Me is even further internalized. The album is tense while not aggressive, a flood of pressurized endorphins and longing melodies. It charts the interactions of flawed self-image, troubled relationships, and post-rock's glassy catharsis. Across 11 tracks, the Notwist members act as forensic scientists, tracing the arcs of the disaffected through acoustic jangle and laptop garble, disarming lulls, and dub cast-off. Opening cut "Good Lies" builds to a luminous climax, a composition as immediately engaging and ultimately detached as the relationship furnished within it. Mid-album track "Gravity" is fidgety with ghosting chords occasionally punctuated by a computer's wheeze, while "On Planet Off" is populated by encounters between estranged friends and otherworldly trills. More forlorn but no less detailed than past efforts, the Notwist's latest doesn't so much push forward as push the right buttons, adding another wistful page to the group's fuzz-trimmed scrapbook.
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