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4.6 out of 5 stars
Hidden
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This ambitious merging of frenzied tribal African rhythms and rituals, syncopated 'dub' beats, neoclassical elements, chamber music, heavy-metal riffs and church-operatic choirs, could be described as a merging of Public Image Limited's 'Flowers Of Romance' and Canterbury-style prog rock. But that description in itself does not do this brilliant work justice. Much of the album is dominated by the superb drumming of George Barnett and the counterpoint of keyboardist Sophie Sleigh-Johnson.

Rather like the musical equivalent of a Stanley Kubrick film, this album works as an intricate, albeit slightly bleak and heartless puzzle. The icy and detached aesthetics of the music amount to a genre that is yet to be given a name.
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on 7 January 2011
I admit it...got it on stregth of no 1 position in NME's albums of the year - always dangerous - and knew little of TNP before. So coming at this fresh but with expectation. Opening really lives up to that. Classical and electric edges with insistent, tribal beats and even the odd sword unsheathed ringing through. Brilliant stuff and 'We Want War' is a track of the year for me. Rest of the album can't quite live up to that - similar formula, but doesn't capture you quite the same. Nevertheless still distinctive, challenging and good stuff that I'd recommend if you want to give something different a try.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2010
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 have more time to read!

Pros: The drum production is excellent. It has an unusual and perhaps `original' sound overall: it probably is an album that people should hear for themselves.

Cons: Whilst new and innovative is good, it shouldn't be a means in of itself; the music needs to actually `work' and, for me, this doesn't. The main vocals are often dreadful, there are some very poorly chosen sampled sounds and too many of the tracks just meander around without really going anywhere. In fact many of the songs just sound like demos that have yet to be fully realised. "Interesting" is a word that kept springing to mind; not always in a positive way.

Therefore my rating: a generous 3 stars, mostly for having tried to be different.

A track-by-track breakdown:

TIME XONE: A short, sombre tune using low woodwind and brass which sounds quite unusual at first but ultimately comes across like a dull Grade 5 piece adapted for ensemble. It doesn't really go anywhere but, perhaps, suggests that interesting things might follow.

WE WANT WAR: Clearly a centrepiece of the album. The drums are good but are they doing enough to be at the forefront of most of the track? The sword-schwing noise goes well with the Japanese-style drums. There are some very tacky sampled vocal sounds on here and the sing-speak vocals just make it sound drab (another word that kept springing to mind). Where is it all going? Apparently "sea breeze" is the climax. Hmmm.

THREE THOUSAND: This has more of the awful sampled voice sound triggered off a keyboard, the drums are OK, we get more of the sword-schwing noise (not so novel anymore) and drab talking over the top. Unmemorable.

HOLOGRAM: Tempts the listener in with left-right phased snare drums, but the "singer"'s tune is so all over the place he can't actually sing the notes he's written for himself. Short and unstructured, it just fizzles out.

ATTACK MUSIC: Unfortunately that awful sampled voice sound pops up throughout this track, spoiling it. The female singers do a much better job than the main man and the woodwind over the simple bass riff works quite nicely.

FIRE-POWER: A switch to 6/8 time is a nice change. Really good drums (again) but very annoying vocals (again)(he's still trying to sing while speaking, then he tries two different ways of pronouncing the word "fire" which sounds silly and as if he couldn't think of anything better to do). At the end the tune of Time Xone comes back. Was he not sure how else to end it?

ORION: Probably my least favourite track of all, combining the tacky voice sample YET AGAIN, excruciatingly dreadful singing (especially in the chorus) and another meandering tune that once more the singer can't seem to actually follow himself. All this coupled with some detuned backing. Euch. The drums are decent though...

CANTICLE: A short `palette-cleanser'.

DRUM COURTS-WHERE CORALS LIE: Probably my favourite track - the elements of his music work better here, and he half-whispers the vocals which works far, far better. Good abrupt ending.

WHITE CHORDS: Good almost shoegaze-y chorus where you can just about ignore his singing, but in the verses the strained out-of-tune-ness makes it almost unlistenable.

5: The best of the non-drumming tracks. Good Steve-Reich-esque overlapping glockenspiel/vibraphone phrases, with proper choral vocals (see, you don't have to trigger them off a keyboard!) and clashing brass chords to finish. Leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth at the end, at least.
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on 23 January 2011
A highly ambitious project from TNP that they almost pull off perfectly. Percussion-heavy arrangements create a driving, powerful sound throughout. Multi-tracked/choral vocals on some tracks are a little reminiscent of Pink Floyd's The Wall. My one criticism is that the main vocal can sometimes seems a little weak when pitted against the force of the music. However, that shouldn't detract from what is a superb achievement & a scorching piece of music that well deserves a listen.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2010
If you don't like pretentious, stear clear of 'Hidden'. It displays Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer-like levels of pretention. It tries very hard indeed to be different and clever. But if it wasn't so pretentious, so preposterously, self-consciously ambitious it would not be so distinctive, so effective and such an admirable achievement.

There are many good young bands in Britain, the USA and elsewhere but far too many seem content to imitate their contemporaries, or update their heroes and cult favourites from the 60s, 70s or 80s. What many lack is the ambition to be much more than the new White Stripes, Gang of Four or New Order. To be something of their own creation, to record something that is its own genre. 'Hidden' is exactly that ambitious, which is enough to make it worth hearing at least once.

Whether you'll want to hear it twice is another matter. I did, because at times I found it quite thrilling. It's not wholly successful but it's high points are towering and totally justify the ambition. These New Puritans are not just pretending to be a different proposition.
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on 12 September 2013
Hidden is my favourite album of 2010. It is quite unlike anything I have ever heard before and the whole thing is intelligent and exciting.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2010
After witnessing this band at Offset Festival 2010 I bought this album and it really is an incredibly ambitious album that took just a couple of listens to wamr to and a couple more to become obsessed with. From the opener Time Xone which has a victorian warm feel to it, i remember a similar opening track on Badly Drawn Boys The Hour of Bewilderbeast and after witnessing live what can only be described as DIY deep electronic with wind and brass instruments and choirs I wasn't really sure what to expect. The album then moves into more electronic and works fantastically with the singers unusual un-tampered with normal vocals, and i mean normal in the nicest way, he sounds so genuine and believable in a way i have only heard from bright eyes, graham coxon and others i love so much. The music has a klaxons Myths Of The Near Futureand M.I.A Kalatype feel to it, some radiohead in the music too, not copied by any stretch of the imagination but in the way it sounds like it has been created and done without unnecessary over complicating. 'We Want War' is one of my highlights and 'Three Thousand' is my current favourite, it could have featured in a futuristic version of 'Nightmare Before Christmas' not sure why i think that, but it does sound incredible. 'Hologram' has this great almost radiohead like piano playing, sounds nothing like Pyramid Song but makes me think of that a bit. 'Attack Music' is another highlight, incredible, deep electronic with shouty lyrics that makes me want to listen to MIA's albums again,. probably also in it's political sounding, the childrens choir in the choruses have that 'Another Brick in The Wall' Pink Floyd vibe, which i love on this. 'Fire Power' makes me think of M.i.A's BirdFlu with it's drums and shouty vocals. There really is not a not amazing song on this album. Yes it has reference points to other artists, but that does not take anything away from it's originality and one of the finest debuts of recent years, really excited to see what these guys do next and i totally recommend this album and seeing them live too. If you like my review please do give it a thumbs up please.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2010
These New Puritans are a band I've been familiar with for a few years, I saw them support British Sea Power at Koko, and in all honesty I wasn't totally blown away - a few decent songs was my summation - I've certainly matured in my tastes since then and listening back to their debut now, I can see a bit more than "a few decent songs" beyond the obvious grain of Numerology, Colours and Elvis.
It was purely one song that made me go back to TNPS - hearing the epic We Want War that has been streaming for a while now.
The song is brutal, its beating drum and keyboard work that leads the path to a seven minute tour-de-force that will rank it highly in songs of 2010 threads that are still some months away.

Hidden is an ambitious, experimental indie showing that epitomises what an album is all about - none of this 79 pence a song rubbish here - this is an album that flows from start to finish and for a true experience it's
Attack Music follows We Want War with its relentless almost mechanised drum (sorry) attack amidst drawn swords (seriously). Hologram, a definite stand-out is a somewhat mellower affair, and it works wondrously.
Whilst songs like Orion aren't as obvious stand-out's they do a great job of segueing between the albums stand-outs, the last of which is White Chords before 5 ends the album with mainly instrumental wonderings.
I'm never the biggest fan of instrumental tracks, but the ones here as I say, do a great job of bringing the songs together to make a traditional album feel with music that is anything but traditional.

January of 2010 has already proven to be a good start for the year, see Beach House Teen Dream for another great album (let's hope it continues)

My advice is simple - Buy Hidden 9/10
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2010
There are bucket loads of ideas here, at times their ambition does over leap their ability to pull them off. It can all sound rather disconcertingly 'nouveau fascistic' with all that heavy drumming and twirling naked torsos in the video for We Want War. However, this is the outstanding track of this album, by which everything else pales meekly and quivers. I have heard stuff exploring this drum crashing arena before - some of it arty, left wing,interesting but challenging to hear i.e. Holger Hiller, Test Department & Einstürzende Neubauten, and some of it flirts rather casually with extreme right wing style and imagery i.e. Rammstein & Laibache. Don't know where these guys place themselves politically, but mostly they steer clear of outright musical pretension, but they often come too close at times for aural comfort.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2010
I first heard TNP on Marc Riley's show on 6 Music so I bought myself Beat Pyramid and was a tad disappointed with the exception of Elvis and a few other flashes of genius muddled up in all the disjointed noise, I was pleasantly surprised therefore when Hidden arrived at my door and it fullfilled every bit of promise that Marc had made in the first place.

It's a deep, dark, brooding-belter of an album with huge sweeping strings and choirs over heavy beats, topped of with some twisted vocals.
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