The Devil, You + Me
I think The Notwist are a fun, synthy explosion of goodness, and I loved and lived with their 2002 album, Neon Golden, since its release. In the interim, the band members have been keeping busy with projects 13 & God and Ms. John Soda, both excellent acts in their own right. The Notwist’s sixth album, The Devil, You + Me, is a somber, catchy record that shows a lot of progress without losing the band’s original vision.
The Devil, You + Me doesn’t feel as single-driven as Neon Golden. It instead becomes that background album for a rainy day. At times almost foreboding, the tracks were much more grounded, less poppy, a bit melancholy. In the past, I’d loved understated Notwist tracks for balancing woe and upbeat rhythms, and this time around, I felt a little more dismal and empty after listening. This isn’t a criticism; it’s just a departure from the sad but generally more upbeat songs I previously relied on. Bright spots include the title track, "Gravity," and "Boneless," but I’d still recommend their preceding record for a more diverse sampling of their talent.
Not unlike a lot of popular, mellow synth bands currently finding success, The Notwist will be fine, and in many ways, they’re synced up with their contemporaries, even ones for whom they paved the way. Everyone—The Notwist and their peers—have learned a lot since 2002. I’m just not as excited about it as I once was.