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in English
last updated on
december, 3rd
Artist: The NOTWIST
Title: Shrink
Label: Zero Hour
4 out of 5

Picture Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth getting together with Stereolab. Not so odd? Picture John Coltrane sitting in with them (if he wasn't dead). Oh...and he invites Metallica along for the ride. Pulling from a grab bag of styles ranging from speed metal (take a listen to 1994's breathtaking cover of Robert Palmer's Johnny and Mary) to jazz to industrial, Weilheim Germany's The Notwist have managed to blend together a distinct sound that somehow always has room to grow. And grow it does. On their latest offering, Shrink, they have toned down the rock a bit, and added quite a bit of jazz. Still here are the various mechanical sounding beats found on previous releases, but it's less aggressive and ominous, more smooth sounding and comfortable. This mixing of styles could seem like a gimmick, but The Notwist pull it off with flying colors. Perhaps it's because of the lack of fear they seem to have in exploring different musical areas. Maybe it's because they know their strengths and expand on those while sifting new things into the mix. The one thing that seems to figure into all of The Notwist's songs is attention to the beat. Whether it's double kick-drum raw speed or mellowed out electronic loops, it's always interesting. Another constant is Markus Acher's vocals. Melancholy, almost a monotone, almost a murmur, they convey the kind of emotion I would have died for (or at least cried over) during my "black" days in high school. Overlaying this foundation is where they do their most interesting work. Maybe they'll invite Johnny Cash to the next session. They could make it work.

The Bottom Line: All my favorite genres on one CD.