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The Notwist
DIFFERENT CARS AND TRAINS
(Domino)
Stars graphics

This long-running German band seduced lots of American indie types last year when their 2002 album Neon Golden was issued in the US after an enthusiastic reception at home. The albumís warm-and-fuzzy synthesis of lap-top bleeps and guitar-pop melodies made for a perfect European counterpart to the Postal Serviceís computerized West Coast emo. On this five-song EP ó released to tide fans over while the groupís members attend to various side projects ó they take advantage of their popularity, stripping the music of some of its cozy accessibility.

Two remixes of Neon Golden tunes by Console (actually keyboard player Martin Gretschmann) increase the rhythmic bump of the originals while threatening singer Markus Acherís reedy croon with swirling synth washes and hard-edged bass fuzz. In a long remix of "This Room," Four Tet and Manitoba stretch Acherís melodies across chopped-up live drums and chiming bells; whatís lost in song form is made up in a persistent, undulating groove. The previously unreleased "Red Room" is even less catchy, unless you hum along to wind instruments blowing wheezy whole notes; the space-age dub title track is virtually useless unless you hear it through headphones. In all, a satisfying example of Germanic obstinacy.

BY MIKAEL WOOD


Issue Date: February 20 - 26, 2004
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