Release Date: Oct 28, 2016
Record label: Alien Transistor
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
Once alternative rockers as shaggy-headed as they were raggedly distorted, The Notwist gradually evolved into Germany’s leading practitioners of melancholic indietronica. As their first live album demonstrates, while programming has become an indispensable aspect of their studio recordings and concert performances, this band has retained its chops. Recorded in Leipzig last year, the set draws heavily from 2002’s breakthrough Neon Golden and their most recent LP from 2014.
Since the universal acclaim that created 2002's incredible Neon Golden, it could easily be argued that the long-running German band The Notwist's audience has taken them for granted. They've only released two proper studio albums since then (most recently, 2014's Close to the Glass) and while those albums are enjoyable, they weren't knockouts. All of that changes with this release, their very first live album.
Recorded on the second night of the Notwist's trio of concerts at UT Connewitz in December 2015, Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff finds the band using the live setting to rework songs old and new. The album was beautifully recorded and mixed by Olaf Opal, who captures how the spark of a good live performance can invigorate -- or reinvigorate -- a song. There's a newfound fire in the looping beat that drives "Close to the Glass," while the gamelan-like chromatic percussion on "Run Run Run" has an extra sparkle.
The Notwist’s new live album, Superheroes, Ghostvillians & Stuff, begins triumphantly. “They Follow Me”, which is also the opening track to the Notwist’s most recent studio album, is improved upon, cleaned up. The studio track is gorgeous as it is, but after cutting some of the studio fat from the track, we get to hear it for what it truly is: a melancholy, heartbreaking ode to a lost love, heightened by the lead singer Markus Acher’s ever fragile and unaltered voice.