The Notwist Sturm Soundtrack

German outfit the Notwist have a flare for combining electro elements with shoegaze and post-rock touchstones to forge refreshingly eccentric pop creations. No matter the arrangement, singer Markus Archer's welcoming voice and a reliance on a front-row rhythm section typically steer the combo's sound away from potential moroseness. However, with Sturm (aka Storm) ― the soundtrack to the Hans-Christian Schmid film of the same name ― the band have created a blip-aided study in aural depression. It's a bleak instrumental score that flows together listlessly, offering occasional moments of quiet beauty, but mostly meandering gloomily. Gone are the band's lyrical whimsy and playfulness, replaced with, well, not all that much. Strum makes for an acceptable pass-out companion (à la Ambien), but little else. Incidentally, where's the thunder? (Alien Transistor)