The Notwist: “Kong”

Calling the Notwist “eclectic” is certainly putting it lightly. The German group has cycled through every conceivable genre since forming in 1989, starting out as a hardcore band before adding bits of jazz and hip-hop to their sound. But a decade into their career, the Notwist zeroed in on a mix of electronica and folk, starting with 2002’s standout Neon Golden. The once musically-ravenous group slowed down, focusing on refining their songs instead of cramming as many influences as possible.

This renewed pace fits the Notwist well. There’s no denying the band’s obvious musical skill, but with the added time between albums, they can experiment and shape like never before. Close To The Glass is the outfit’s first album in six years and the patience is easily rewarded. The songs unfold beautifully, full of eerie electronic atmosphere and rich, organic textures, and the Notwist even try on a few new hats, like on the brilliant “Kong.” Over a pulsating beat, the song details a true story about a flood that singer Markus Acher experienced as a young boy. He remembers hoping a superhero would save his family, and the band ably straddles this line between the frightening and the fantastical. It’s like a comic book panel come to life, full of vivid color and depth.

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