Scott Walker and Thom Yorke doing late-period Talk Talk. In a Bergman movie. It must be the new album from These New Puritans
With a band name inspired by a song by The Fall, London’s These New Puritans were never going to be a straight-forward proposition. After building a reputation as post-rock neo-classicists on their first two albums, twin brothers George and Jack Barnett continue their voyage darkly on this astonishing third release. It thrums with a low-level anxiety in places as astringent orchestral arrangements saw away, creating a minimalist mood not unlike Scott Walker and Thom Yorke doing late-period Talk Talk. In a Bergman movie. The Barnetts take the oblique view, often adding children’s choirs, exotic electronics and more organic sounds in the spirit of experimentation. A magnetic resonator piano features on three songs here and a hawk was released into the studio at one point so that the sound of its flight could be included on one track. This isn’t as po-faced as it might seem. The return of silken-voiced Portuguese singer Elisa Rodrigues adds a sensual dimension to Jack’s sing-speak on This Guy's In Love With You where fragments of her vocals sing snatches of the Bacharach and David classic under a maelstrom of discordant strings as he mumbles away. Then it gets really impenetrable. On The Light in Your Name, TNP sound like they’re trying to solve a very hard musical puzzle involving foreboding strings, halting piano, and strange percussion until the track abruptly ends with the smashing of glass. It's as if the whole painstakingly constructed thing has just been dropped as an art statement. V (Island Song) and Nothing Else also seem outwardly uninviting but time spent with these demanding songs eventual reveal them to be very beautiful indeed. These New Puritans are constantly striving to discover new worlds of sound and their quest keeps getting more interesting with each new release.