The Notwist - Vertigo Days Music Album Reviews

The Notwist - Vertigo Days Music Album Reviews
The German band’s first album since 2014 revives their introspective blend of indie rock and electronica, while simultaneously looking outward for new voices and perspectives.

Nearly two decades have passed since the release of the Notwist’s Neon Golden. An ingenious synthesis of indie rock and electronica, the album was a shining example of “plinkerpop,” Morr Music founder Thomas Morr’s term for a wave of delicate, humanistic electronic pop music that emerged around the turn of the millennium. The Notwist’s core duo of Markus and Micha Acher—two brothers from old-world Bavaria in the south of Germany—have at times tried to tweak their formula, with mixed success. Ricocheting between guitar rock, shoegaze, and downbeat ambience, 2014’s Close to the Glass felt somewhat jumbled and unfocused. But Vertigo Days, their first in seven years, uses a long period of absence and a rupture in the lineup as a route to reinvigoration. New to the fold is Cico Beck, who replaces Martin “Console” Gretschmann, the master programmer who aided the Notwist’s evolution from indie rockers to electronica mavens. On Vertigo Days, this introspective, somewhat hermetic band looks outwards and engages with new languages, perspectives, and voices.
Last year, Markus Acher joined forces with Saya, vocalist of the veteran Japanese pop group Tenniscoats, to curate Minna Miteru, a compilation of contemporary Japanese indie pop. It’s refreshing to hear Saya’s brass band Zayaendo appear on “Into Love Again,” and she even takes the mic for album standout “Ship,” a slinky, pulsating track that—like a few on this record—taps into the controlled, trance-like music that Can were making circa Ege Bamyasi.

Markus Acher’s voice remains one of the Notwist’s essential elements. Thin like tracing paper, with a tender emotional quality that borders on sentimentality, it might feel twee if it were placed over jangling guitars. But against the Notwist’s textured, electronic backdrops, Archer’s voice lands just right. “Where You Find Me” is a perfectly pitched take on what was once called emotronica, a patchwork of acoustic guitar, cascading synths, and live percussion with a sung chorus that provides a sense of gentle uplift. But Vertigo Days delights in taking moments of uncomplicated beauty and skewing them: Hear how “Into Love/Stars” commences as a gentle romantic homily for voice, guitar, and synth before a drum machine barges in like an unwelcome housemate and whisks the song off into the stratosphere.

Elsewhere, a selection of guests add welcome color, taking the Notwist’s core sound and patching it out to a variety of global scenes and sounds. Argentine vocalist and producer Juana Molina guests on “Al Sur,” her voice weaving in and out of hectic spasms of percussion. The jazz polyglot Angel Bat Dawid brings flurries of clarinet to “Into the Ice Age,” a foray into limber krautrock percussion. The loping groove of “Oh Sweet Fire” pairs Acher with an inspired vocal foil, jazz luminary Ben LaMar Gay. Written by LaMar Gay, the track’s lyric twines the personal and political, imagining two lovers taking part in a march or uprising: “The sound of drums reflecting off buildings/As high as the fist that has risen,” he sings. Their vocals share a melody and an intonation, but LaMar Gay’s voice is insistent and muscular whereas Acher is softer and more diffident. From this contrast springs nuance, the track jittering with a heady mix of fear, excitement, and righteous resolve.

Like its predecessor, Vertigo Days at times feels scattershot. Across 14 tracks, there is droning Silver Apples worship (“Exit Strategy to Myself”), haunted-house jazz (“Ghost”), and, on the closing “Into Love Again,” an extended coda that feels like it’s sobbed itself dry a couple of minutes before it finally throws in the towel. Markus Acher has talked about the sequencing of a Notwist album as being like a collage or mosaic, and there are places where Vertigo Days might benefit from a sterner edit. By and large, though, the guest spots and experimental excursions feel less contrived than the stylistic zig-zags of records past, and more the natural consequence of a band engaging with the world. After all this time, the Acher brothers are still digging into their sound, turning up moments of sweetness and pathos.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Notwist - Vertigo Days Music Album Reviews The Notwist - Vertigo Days Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 08, 2021 Rating: 5


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