These New Puritans
On Hidden, their sophomore release, These New Puritans incorporate orchestral instruments alongside synthesizers and driving post-punk rhythms to create an unusually hybridized sound palette. But adding choir, woodwinds, and brass to the mix has done nothing to dilute the urgency of TNP’s songs. They don’t incorporate them in a suave, neoclassical fashion. Indeed, Jack Barnett’s classical chops were honed in a month-long crash course in notation. Instead they appear in angular block-like formations, glaciers a-swirl in a maelstrom sea of pop signatures. Sounds affects – including a sample of knives being sharpened – are also liberally incorporated, as are out-of-the-box dance-hall beats and synthetic loops.
But the severity of these incorporations suits Hidden, an album more about stark juxtapositions rather than finely nuanced transitions. It also manages to blunt any notion that the use of classical forces or filmic effects on a rock record necessitates sonic domestication. Quite the contrary, this is a woolly and wild, yet eminently gratifying, recording.