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november, 28th
The NOTWIST: 12 

Germany's The Notwist is another persistent band in the ranks of guitar heavy (as opposed to dance-driven) industrial music, but one which is also capable of producing impeccable, non-distorted, contemplative rock. 12, their fourth album (but their first domestic release) features metal riffings that conjure the sound of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation without SY's off-kilter tunings. 12 delivers a sullen cover of Cynthia Dall's (who, beyond her solo recordings, moonlights in Smog) "Torture Day," as well as the doggerel lyrics of Markus Acher and bottle-top percussion of Martin Messerschmidt on "Noah." Brother Micha Acher's subtle bass wavers between natural and unnatural distortion on "The String." 

The album comes packaged with the Loup EP, which includes remixes of three songs from 12 , a cover of Robert Palmer's "Johnny and Mary," and "The Incredible Change of Our Alien" which appears in its original form on their 1992 German-only album, Nook. It's obvious that The Notwist know quality when they hear it, they simply prefer to keep it a secret: such is the case with the closing title track, where most of the percussion is produced by a guitar string being hit by a drum stick. From the polished Ministry-like guitars of "M" to the Zeni Geva engine sounds of the instrumental track "Instr.," 12 makes for a strong effort. The prosthetic EP, however, is a marketing conundrum -- why not cram it all onto one disc? But The Notwist doesn't seem to represent efficiency as much as peculiarity. And targeting those with peculiar tastes may just win them a following with substance.

Chris Woo