Ms. John Soda – Notes & The Like (Morr Music/Inertia)


If nothing on Notes and The Like rocks quite as hard as No P. or D.’ “Go Check,” the new album is still a more than satisfying follow-up to the 2002 debut by Stefanie Böhm and Micha Acher. The duo’ style hasn’ radically changed—the focus is still firmly on breezy electro-pop—but the sound is instrumentally bolder, with chamber strings adding supple depth to songs like “A Million Times” and “Line by Line.” Naturally, Böhm’ candy-coloured voice is the band’ signature element but it’s also a remarkably versatile instrument; note, for example, the contrast she so effortlessly effects between a distorted muffle and breathy whisper in “Sometimes Stop, Sometimes Go.” Throughout the album, the group reaffirms its love of New Order bass lines and sprechsang (“Scan the Ways”) while further perfecting its command of driving electro-pop (“No.One”) and poignant balladry (“Plenty Of”). Put simply, resistance is futile when dreamy hooks and Böhm’ sweet vocals work their infectious magic on cuts like “A Nod On Hold,” “Hands” and the beatific “A Million Times.” Fans of Lali Puna’ Scary World Theory and The Notwist’s Neon Golden could legitimately regard Notes and The Like as a natural complement.

Ron Schepper


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