Ms. John Soda is a duet composed of Stephanie Böhm (Couch) and Micha Acher (Notwist). The Notwist already had several side projects, my very favourite being Lali Puna (I still think that Scary World Theory is thoroughly more enjoyable than Neon Golden, even though Neon Golden kicks ass) and we can consider Lali Puna and Ms. John Soda as sister bands. First obvious reason : Micha Acher is Marcus Acher's (the Notwist's singer) brother. Reason two : the music is electro-pop sung by a german girl with a lovely accent. Reason Three : if we put aside the freakish beings known as "twins", there's always a bigger sister.
The morr label has released unbelievable albums over the two last years, the latests being Hermann & Kleine's Our Noise, Manual's Ascend and Blue Skied an' Clear, a great tribute to Slowdive. By recycling late 80s, early 90s shoegazing they created an innovative addictive music. No P. or D. is not innovative. That's not bad, I don't care whether or not a band is innovative or original as long as there are killer songs. Unfortunately this album lacks a couple of killer songs to be better than "ok."
Most of the album is filled with nice pop songs, every ingredient is there but it ends up sounding surprisingly unsurprising and very linear. My favourite songs on the album sound like Notwist outtakes : Technicolor, the nice opening track and the impressive Unsleeping. Unsleeping is really great, but it would sound better if it were performed by the Notwist : even if Stephanie Böhm has a nice voice, nothing can beat Marcus Acher's half-asleep delivery. This is the standard side-project defect (sspd) : side projects are good when they are better or different from the original band. Switching vocalists is not enough. Hiding/Fading is nice, but there again it could be better: it sounds lovely but unfortunately it is far from being deep. Emotion is not there, and Böhm's neutral lyrics do not help solving the problem. Good pop songs are either sad or inhumanly optimistic, and No P. or D. is filled with songs about, well, nothing worth singing about. Hopefully the next Lali Puna album will be better.
/nov 1st 2002/