The Notwist have picked up various genre labels over the years: from indie pop to indie rock , electro pop to proggy jazz and the ever-present Krautrock that gets mentioned alongside any German band. It’s almost like you can’t be in a band and hail from Germany without being tagged with the Krautrock reference. Close To The Glass has elements of all of these.
Still, The Notwist have always blurred the lines between pop, indie and electronic music and kept us all guessing in the best way. It’s their dynamic range that sets them apart from most bands. This is alive and well on Close To The Glass.
The opening track “Signals” is a slow and melancholy glide, with the repeated words "we want to be like you" being invoked like a mantra -- are they suggesting emulation or being slyly ironic with an intellectual take on how people blindly copy other people's image/style/mannerisms instead of being original? The manic and errortronic blips and glitches throw the vibe off-kilter and create a jarring effect. It's an interesting and provocative edge, it cajoles the listener and alerts them that this album will engage you, you have to pay attention, this is thinking music.
The massive single “Kong” has a very Ben Gibbard quality to it's vocals, there's also a great indie pop streak on this one. It's a natural choice for the album's single and one of the most dynamic songs on the album.
“Close To The Glass” is another one of the album's songs to be released as a stream before the actual album release date. It's more tension-filled than Kong, it's percussive qualities border on manic and have a steady, driving quality to them. It's not as listener-friendly as Kong, but that's what makes The Notwist interesting, right? They keep us guessing and always riveted by changing up their approach.
The rest of the album ranges from slower, more introspective songs like “Into Another Tune” to the great instrumental “Lineri.” The My Bloody Valentine-sounding guitars on “7 Hour Drive” will have you reaching for your vinyl copy of Loveless in a quick second.
All in all, Close To The Glass the album is as tight as anything The Notwist have ever released. There’s a little bit of drift mid-album where the listener gets lulled off into complacency, but the band brings the vibe back to finish the track list off strong. Close To The Glass is a definite powerhouse record.
Close To The Glass
Into Another Tune
From One Wrong Place To The Next
The Fifth Quarter Of The Globe
Run Run Run
They Follow Me