Tin asked me to have a listen to These New Puritans and kindly dropped a load of their stuff into the Box for me.
Anyway, I downloaded them and sorted them into the two albums that they have released to date, Beat Pyramid and Hidden.
I listened to both twice at work today, in between other things. I find that listening to new stuff this way is quite helpful. The first time, you don’t think that anything will stick but the second time around I find I remember bits.
I will admit to knowing nothing about the band at all, I had to look on Wikipedia for information. So, they come from Southend-on-Sea. That always reminds me of 70s pub rock, the Kursaal Flyers in particular. Apparently, the Kursaal , which was an amusement park and funfair, isn’t there anymore.
Anyway, let’s move on to These New Puritans. Described as “art rock” and “prog”, I was actually quite surprised by their earlier album, Beat Pyramid, which is a mix of post punk spiky rhythms, loops and drum and bass beats and not at all proggish or art rocky. The first time, I will admit to not liking it but it grew on me a bit. The thing that lets it down, I think, is that it all sounds very derivative and not particularly focused. It has highs and lows, In places it reminds me strongly of the Gang Of Four, the Au Pairs and The Raincoats, with a few bits of PiL and Joy Division thrown into the blend, with the afore-mentioned loops and beats from drum and bass. The one thing it does sound, I think, is young, as in a bit unformed and juvenile, not grown up and properly developed.
The second album, Hidden, is a very different beast. It is a far more mature piece of work and one that probably does deserve the art rock label. It is quite pretentious in places, pretentious as in meaning that it has pretensions to be taken seriously compared to their first album, I think. It has orchestration, woodwind instruments and a choir. It still has the beats and loops but it seems to live in a place where Animal Collective has been hanging out. The writing is a lot smarter, more coherent and the music seems to be a lot more focused. The album is a lot less like a sampler of styles. It sounds like a conceived artefact, which makes it much more listenable, I think.
Not sure anything has yet wormed its way into my ear yet, but I shall carry on listening to them, because I think that they are worth getting to know.
Anyway, as a taster, here’s a track from their second album;