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John Schacht 10/02/2012
In 2002, Neon Golden was a left-field indie hit for this 20-year-old German outfit, which began life making near-metal sonic noise. Eventually, computer blips and processed beats propelled actual melodies, like Fridge’s glitch grafted onto full-fledged songs. Back in ‘02 such computer-generated alchemy between indie rock and electronic still had the sheen of newness to it; to their credit, six years later The Notwist prove they still have something to say in the idiom. Interestingly, opener “Good Lies” is the least like Neon Golden; with its driving guitars and a synth relegated to background bleeps through most of it, and Markus Acher’s hesitant lyrics front-and-center, the propulsive song is practically American Analog Set-like. But the rest of the record is split into gentler acoustic-based pieces like the title cut, where the digital and organic – horns, strings, glockenspiel – complement each other not unlike, say, Adem’s chill-out laptop folk, and more angst-ridden tempos like “Gravity,” its sampler scree and looped feedback bursts eventually coalescing into logical sense. The narratives may be in keeping with the long dark tradition of German nihilism, but The Devil, You + Me certainly offers hope for The Notwist’s fans.