The Notwist, The Devil You + Me

John Doran

By John Doran

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Sublime German indie band showcase sharp lyrics and sweet melodies underpinned by a dark experimental tendency and a melancholy soul.

If The Devil, You + Me was your first exposure to German indie band The Notwist, you would probably be forgiven for not realizing that they started life as a heavy-metal outfit. The pared-back, unshowy but sun-dappled instrumentation that recalls American Analog Set on songs like “Good Lies” is about as far from the virtuosity and brash showmanship of your average metal band as you can get. This said, little flashes of their origins still remain. Cuts such as the sublime “Gloomy Planets” are shot through with jagged shards of buzz-saw guitar, but they're not designed to overwhelm the listener so much as to throw the rest of the song into sharp relief. This uneasy listening experience is a particular gift of main songwriter Markus Acher — who beguiles with sweet and simple melodies and heartfelt lyrics only to subtly subvert the listener's experience with creeping anxiety. The ambiguities of crackling electronics and glitchcore techniques pull the rug out from under the listener in slow motion, making The Devil, You & Me a little gem of an album.