25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work Of Considerable Ambition & Originality
These New Puritans first arrived with some very low-fi strange stop/start almost shouty indie around 3 or 4 years ago. There was something interesting about them then and their first album was interesting but never likely to change the world. It was the kind of album which could lead them to something of a musical cul-de-sac. So I didn't expect much from sophomore...
Published on 30 Jan. 2010 by pjr
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...interesting...?
I picked up a copy of this after being swept up in the wave of hype and gushing reviews that accompanied its release. After a bit of time to properly digest it I thought I'd post my review to counterbalance the many, as I see it, bafflingly positive ones.
I will summarise my main opinions and put the more detailed breakdown of my comments below for those that...
Published on 12 Mar. 2010 by Owl Tomes
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hidden is a great album, one of the best of the year 2010, all the songs are very good and original! Last year i was surprised with XX and this year with These New Puritans! Will be Interesting to see this Band Live because the album is really complex! Really Good Work!!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...Here we go up into the stars.,
Cue Puritans main man Jack Barnett's all natural murmur being fazed to give way to some epic and grandiose choral melodies that reach celestial levels in pitch.
First off I would just like to take this opportunity to address These New Puritans by saying 'Damn You'. This South End quartet of musos have single handedly made one of the most memorable albums that I have listened to for say hmmm the past five years. 'Hidden' is an absolutely astounding feat of work, and should deservedly so become a bench mark album for new and aspiring emerging artists, the key word being 'artist' here, and not 'cash cow' like so many of their peers who have jumped upon the gravy train have chosen to do. Like another reviewer very accurately stated, it is comparable - but only in spirit - to Radiohead's often overlooked seminal masterpiece 'Kid A'. Hopefully it will succeed in amassing a cult following of individuals who will regard and recognise this for the type of album that it most certainly is, it is 'Art' in the most thorough sense of the world- the likes of image, persona etc. are null and void here. While I am aware and do in fact own TNP's debut effort, released in 2008, it would appear that other than for this shard of evidence pertaining to their existence, they manifested seemingly out of limbo, to deliver a sucker punch with this album, before scuttling back into the dark out of the watchful glare of the public eye. So yes indeed 'Damn You' TNP's for producing an album, of such pretentious pomp and majesty, that every other album in my considerably-sized cd collected now seems contrived, bland and obsolete. I lack the sheer capability and willpower to compel myself to listen to any other album for the past 2 months. Each listen only serves to unearth more delights, the hooks are well and truly in place, and I am powerless to act.
Anyway about the actual content of the album. Opener 'Time Xone', piques the listeners interest, its melancholy and morbid, it feels somewhat familiar perhaps having been written to create a sense of forboding in a film, the ominous trombone and bassoon, really works well to create an image of disparity and bleakness, yet it is also soothing to listen to and instantly likeable. The false sense of security that the opener creates cast aside, the next track explodes with a wave of crashing synth, a fairly generous pounding of tribal drum here, an underpinning of woodwind there, vocalist Jack Barnett muttering like some demonic shaman cursing you and now a taster of what TNP's are essentially about, a band not shy to flaunt their pretentious enigmatic musical egos, even if their ambitions outstrip their age ten fold, all the musical out pourings co-exist to create a revelatory listening experience, that never sounds too convoluted. Whether it be the post dub-step beats of 'Attack Music' with all it's sampled sword swishing and chanted vocals that add body and depth to Jack's drawl, the twinkling Tim Burton essence imbued in 'Three Thousand' the immense soundings of 'Orion' the shoegaze My Bloody Valentine charged 'White Chords' or the sombre, ethereal tone of album closer '5' there is something here for fans of all tastes and genres. TNP's ability to experiment with sounds and textures to such a degree without ever actually sounding too 'experimental' but delivered instead with pinpoint precision also collectively helps offer longevity to this album. As I have said before I almost very nearly overlooked this album having only owned a copy for the past two months, it would have been a truly tragic thing had I not by chance stumbled upon such a bold album of integrity and ambition in equal amounts, and allowed myself to become immersed with the musings of this ever so talented quartet.
That having been said it is ironic that this album almost never came upon my radar when you consider that the title of the album is 'Hidden'. They 'Want War' they vehemently exclaim, well so do we, take back the air waves and propel this band 'Up into the stars'.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars proper original stuff for a change,
Lets face it, how many albums really push the boat out and try to take some risks.
Not many. This does. And that will do for me. Thrilling no wave new wave drum wave after wave after wave.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Alchemical Entertainment,
So very early in 2010 and already small shoots
of genius are emerging from the cold earth of a
brand new year. 'Hidden' is a small masterpiece.
These New Puritans really have created something
quite special here. This is elemental music,
perfectly formed and wonderfully strange, which
bursts into being with effortless confidence.
The eleven pieces in this collection display
refined musical intelligence and extraordinarily
confident compositional technique.
The utilisation of a woodwind and brass ensemble
on many of the tracks combined with thundering
percussion generates an atmosphere of pagan abandon.
(There are moments when the opera 'Lear' by German
composer Aribert Reimann comes to mind).
'We Want War' is a Stygian call to arms!
Complex rhythms, twisted choral mayhem and
disembodied vocals combine in a truly mesmerising
and vibrantly exciting arrangement.
The energy is palpable. Pure musical theatre!
So too the big beats and rasping horns of 'Three Thousand'.
The half-spoken staccato rhyme digs down deep into something
almost primal. Raw sounds straight out of the limbic system!
Jack Barnett's deadpan vocal delivery is perfectly suited
to these vivid dramas. When combined with quasi-Arabic beats
and a childrens' choir on 'Attack Music' the effect is stunning.
He is a sonic alchemist totally in control of his dark materials.
'Canticle' offers momentary respite from the
mayhem. A brief, laconic miniature which is
quite enchanting despite its brevity.
'Drum Courts - Where Corals Lie' sucks us back into the maelstrom.
These sounds really do make the heart beat faster! The reference to
Elgar's song from the 'Sea Pictures'cycle is an inspired inclusion.
Final track '5' brings the album to a memorable and majestic close.
Elements of Indonesian gamelan music; hints of Aaron Copeland and an
equally big dose of Southend originality come together to conclude
this facinating and utterly captivating musical conundrum.
It is hard to think that we might hear a finer recording this year!
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars first great album of 2010...,
After reading many end of year polls in the past month or so, one can't help but get reflective on the criteria needed to be proclaimed such an album. With exceptional releases from the likes of Animal Collective, XX, Grizzly Bear and Wild Beasts topping the polls of 2009, I can confidently predict These New Puritans new album Hidden to be the first of 2010s groundbreaking releases.
After reading glowing reviews all across press on the album, I was intrigued by this band after having dabbled with previous album Beat Pyramid, also worth a pop it must be said. On first listen, I was blown away by Hidden. Similar to the releases of 2009 mentioned, Hidden offers something incredibly special and very ambitious, a completely unique sound to have been carved out by such young musicians. It's one of thsoe albums that when you hear, you just know is something special.
The album is both dark and atmospheric, with their trademark beats still present and guaranteed to please and comfort their existing fans, whilst also incorporating brass and woodwind arrangements and childrens choirs which raise them up to a whole new level. The songs are interesting and each offers a completely different sound and dimension to the band. Stand out tracks for me include the fantastic We Want War, with a very glossy video floating around online, Three Thousand and White Chords. All completely original, and haunting in their own way.
I'm not that familiar with details of the band, although I have heard the music is on the whole the brainchild of Jack Barnett, the young singer in the band (according to Wikipedia, I think he must be 20-23 possibly). While most young musicians this age nowadays are off chasing fame, radio playlists and number 1 singles, it is both incredibly pleasing and reassuring that there exists a new breed of musicians who are determined to push boudaries and experiment with new genres and sounds. And who hopefully will get every success deserved to them for making one of the most stunning albums to come out of UK in a long time.
Quite clearly the first great album of 2010. Breathtaking.
2 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish,
Mainly just noise and bad 'singing' Not for me thanks. This was swiftly returned...
I'm normally not to fussed about the singing quality if the music is good, but both music and singing was so unlistenable that I just could not get into it.
I appreciate it may be to some peoples tastes, but I just didn't 'get it'......
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