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Field of Reeds
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
Frankly I'm amazed that there aren't a lot more rave reviews on here for this extraordinary release. As Pollo has pointed out above any fans still mourning the loss of Talk Talk and the ongoing silence from Mark Hollis should prepare to rejoice; Field of Reeds is a magnificently beguiling piece of work built on layers of complex acoustic instrumentation and possessed of great emotional depth and beauty. The arrangements are stunning - by turns melancholic, nostalgic and wistful they remind me in mood and complexity of Adrian Mcnally's formidable work with The Unthanks. I'll come clean here and say that despite being intrigued by the reviews of TNP's earlier releases and the band's obviously considered and intelligent approach I didn't really warm to their sound. This however is something else altogether, an abundance of harmonic riches which anyone with an appreciation for the elegant soundscapes of David Sylvian, minimalism or the aforementioned Talk Talk should be hastening to acquire. Easily one of the high-water marks of 2013 so far.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2014
These New Puritans are easily one of the most exciting bands around at the moment. The bands evolution has been impressive, their debut was a nice blend of electronica and post-punk, while the superb follow-up 'Hidden' sounded like Medieval dance music. 'Field Of Reeds' dives right into the classical aspects that had only been touched upon before and its this new change in style that makes everything work. The instrumental arrangements are fantastic throughout, the lyrics are nicely mysterious evoking images of misty countryside and Jack Barnett's subdued delivery fits in strangely well.

Opener 'This Guy's In Love With You' sets the tone perfectly,balancing out a delicate piano tune with haunting half-masked vocals and a majestic climax. 'Fragment 2' is the most accessible song here flowing on a catchy piano rhythm, upbeat drumming and vocals about ''something there''. 'The Light In Your Name' might be my favourite song here based on its amazing atmosphere. Barnett's low growl and the downtempo pianos mix brilliantly, building into something darkly evocative. The 9-minute 'V (Island Song)' flies by thanks to its excellent melody and driving percussion, again having an atmospheric climax. The evil sounding 'Spiral' comes next, the incredibly low bassoon-esque instrumentation, clashing violins and swirling vocals create some beautifully demonic melodies.

'Organ Eternal' is the closest thing to the ''old'' Puritans sound. Based around an upbeat synth tune, with a great mix of low and chiming sounds cut up with some truly wonderful instrumental sections. 'Nothing Else' flows along calmly with the occasional threat of eruption, yet remains subdued and is quite lovely to listen to because of that. The isolated vocals of 'Dream' give it a haunting edge as the twisting dark melodies sooth and disturb. The final title-track contains some impressively low bellowing vocals broken-up by some soft Barnett vocals and some beautiful instrumentation.

'Field Of Reeds' is another excellent album by These New Puritans, changing style yet again has worked perfectly. The influences of Steve Reich and Laughing Stock era Talk Talk are never far behind, but its impressive how unique the album sounds.It takes a few listens to fully open up, but it is extremely rewarding on repeated listens and flows so well as a whole as albums should. I can't wait to see what the Puritans have in store next.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2013
After hearing them live bought the CD and am having to stop listening to it to avoid overhearing the album. The sounds and songs are very different and the album flows very well, better perhaps then the previous albums (?) this is stated in the sleeve notes (I think). If you like the band this is a great album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2013
Do swirls of alchemic mist float across Canvey Island to inspire such greatness? For me, finally, we have the heirs to Talk Talk's throne. No surprise to see engineer Phil Brown eliciting the perfect sounds from this lot.
Dedicate an hour to yourself, prepare your favourite tipple/accompaniment, dim the lights and lose yourself in this mighty piece of work.
I don't look for weaknesses in albums. Who am I to judge!? But for those who do, you won't find any here.
Bettered only this year by Fire! Orchestra's Exit! album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2014
Meticulous and clever without being condescending - it's simply an album that exists within it's own space with no obvious reaction to what's happening in contemporary music; it gets better with each listen. it's been an interesting journey so far to witness Jack and co's constant devotion to their craft, from Beat Pyramid to Hidden to this record.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2013
Original, ambitious effort. In these times of mp3, how great it is to hear a band so concerned with SOUND. Best record of 2013, no contest
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2013
The new album from These New Puritans is dark, and very atmospheric at points, but it is some album.
This album has fantastic depth to it, and the spirit of this record is probably what I like the best. The way that tracks are deconstructed and left bare, before building up again is sublime at times. A good example of this is on 'Organ Eternal' where only the strings are left after everything else cuts out before the track builds again.
My favourite track, I think, is 'Spiral'. It's got a very dark feel throughout, and Barnett' vocals are excellent, as is the accompaniment throughout. Another worthy mention is the starkness of 'Dream' which has an almost ethereal beauty to it, with it's slight dissonance in the bassline and haunting vocals.
It's a difficult album to describe well, and an even harder job to make sound good. It's a dark album, and some will certainly find it tough going, but if you sit and listen, the rewards are certainly there. The textures, production, instrumentation, and composition are absolutely first-rate.
So, while this may not be the easiest album to listen to, and it's certainly not background music for a party, it is really very good. Give it a chance and I really hope it rewards you as it has done to me.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2013
I feel you can really hear the growth of this bands music through their albums. They persist in their excavation of music like archaeologists and they seem to always find the fossil the were looking for. Bit by bit joining together the parts to reveal a creature that never even existed or has yet to. Im always reading of a new influence of theirs...I don't know if i just trying to hear them where they are not but i feel they do wear these influences on their sleeves and are great for it. You hear David Fanshawe's field recordings in the fa d das of 'field of reeds', the Stochausen in 'The light in your name', The Glass/Reich in 'Organ Eternal' oh and that Harris Hawk im gonna say Jeremy Deller even though they recorded the song long before Dellers work, the Hidden in 'Fragment Two' ah :). I mean what i thought i heard make up maybe 1% of the album so i wouldn't take the names to seriously Theres so much more to it. Its like someone scored an opera and an avant gard musical at the same time. The lyrics are poignant, a lot of looking at nature and being in nature, being nature even. Some kind of love between to people or conflict between islands maybe England and The Falklands . No doubt my nonsense rambling has put you off the album. Im sorry dont read this just 'SHUT YOUR EYES AND LISTEN!... and the way to get there, lar ldeaeerlaa louaaa la dleeer laaaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHH!'
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2013
Jack Barnett has a strong vision and this record bears witness to that. More cohesive, quieter and darkly beautiful than ever before, TNPs make a timeless and unforgettable album.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2013
I will go to see them as a result of listening to this CD. New and very interesting - reminded me a bit of F Zappa in parts
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