The Notwist – Shrink

The Notwist – Shrink (Duophonic Super 45s DS45-CD23)

From a totally different angle, I guess this lot are doing the same as Komeda. The electronic sounds they use are far more torn and crunchy, revelling in obvious aliasing and hooting. But they mix these well with ‘conventional’ instruments. Track 2, ‘Chemicals’ reminds me most of a song off ‘Bleach’ performed by an alternate-reality Joy Division who have swapped Hooky for a singing modem. ‘Moron’ starts off quite jaaaazzzzz but get’s weirder when the beat kicks in. Imagine Lalo Schifrin played over a ‘Speak & Spell’ era Depeche Mode drum pattern. Sort of ‘Dirty Harry’ meets ‘Shout’. Warning: there is a saxophone solo on this track. But I still like it.

It’s about as close as I get to goatee territory. Overall, the tone of the album is quite bleak and when guitar appears, it’s nearly always playing sombre powerchords around a Devoesque progression (which is where the Nirvana comes in, I guess). If you’re an old goth, you’ll probably like this album. Or if you’ve got more than two 4AD records in your collection. Or if you just enjoy fairly glum music.

Where groups like isan or BoC (I hope you don’t mind the comparison, toe) at their best remind you of being a kid, that intense sunshine and soaring pointless joy, this stuff most reminds you of being pissed and lonely with vomit on your shoes. For me, then, a great album. Honestly. But not the best one to listen to if you’ve just been dumped. Makes Mark Eitzel sound like Charlie Drake. So, two out of three ain’t bad.

(And sorry if this review sounds more poncey than usual but I’ve finished a linguistics essay on register, dialect and sociolect and it’s not worn off yet…)