Tarwater Dwellers On The Threshold

In 2002-speak you might say that German duo Tarwater are ahead of the resurgent post-punk curve. Since their first album in 1996, the band has been mixing their harsh deadpan vocals with distorted dance rhythms, deconstructing rock and electronic influences. But Bernard Jestram and Ronald Lippock have always borrowed less from the past than most to create a truly unique sound that defies categorisation. For their fourth album, they make their most surprising progression yet with their most straightforward recording - a pop album. Once again warm loops and organic electronics create the backdrops but this time around they are so smooth and sweet, and there are only trace elements of their trademark dark ambience. The pair's melodic savvy is certainly not a new thing, but it is clear that these are their strongest songs to date, and also their most uplifting. Acoustic guitars even take the lead on a number of tracks, including the standout "Perfect Shadow" and the candy-coated "Dogs and Light Tents." Fans shouldn't worry that experimentation and exploration have disappeared this time out, as Dwellers On The Threshold is still an incredibly diverse album charting new territory, it's just that the ride is much sweeter than usual. In addition to heavy doses of pop, like "Metal Flakes" and "1985," they let their electro fly on the great "Tesla," work the seductive "Now" into a brilliant Kraut-rock groove, delve into Afro-rhythms on the instrumental "Phin" and even tackle something akin to a ballad on "Imperator Victus." (Kitty Yo)