The Notwist, Neon Golden

John Doran

By John Doran

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Notwist first surfaced in the early '90s during the grunge years, before they began to experiment with electronic textures on 12 and Shrink. It was on Neon Golden that they got it right, though, and the nods to Autechre and Aphex Twin on “This Room” are an integral part to the music rather than just bolt-on curlicues.

A beguiling mix of indie, electronics, folk and glitchcore.

Markus Acher hides a wealth of emotion behind his simple vocal style, recalling Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch on tracks such as “Pick Up The Phone”. This combination of restrained-but-heartfelt vocalization, mixed with electronic beeps and blats, can be seen as a clear inspiration to later electronic pop acts like The Postal Service. Headphone freaks will find plenty to explore in the dub space of tracks like “Propeller 9,” which layers FX over piano, banjo and sax. The Notwist wrote their first bona-fide gold-medal song in “Pilot,” which sits somewhere between New Order, Arab Strap and the Pet Shop Boys. Maybe back in 2002 this excellent little band were overlooked in favor of the crash, bang, wallop of neo-garage acts like White Stripes and The Hives, but this counterintuitive mix of rootsy, organic music and creaky electronica is a thrilling, unique listen.