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Ms. John Soda Notes and the Like

During the beginning of "No. One," Ms. John Soda singer Stefanie Böhm tediously counts off as Micha Acher strums textbook bass riffs, sounding more clinically depressed than catchy. It's one of many examples of the colder, drier mood that swirls around the duo's sophomore full-length album. On their 2002 debut, this tag-team knocked out glitchy pop, trimming the sound of labelmates like The Notwist into angular, occasionally aggressive hooks augmented by Böhm's alternately monotone and cooing vocals. The familiar but more sparse Notes and the Like boils things down even further, dulling down the duo's edge. Unfortunately, the new tunes lack the necessary spark to stick in your head.

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