These New Puritans – Field of Reeds
The third album from These New Puritans is the kind that makes you want to climb inside and have it surround you forever. Field of Reeds is the follow up to 2010’s Hidden, which received rave reviews from the music press and spawned the insanely brilliant single We Want War. This single leapt out, grabbed its listener by the throat and demanded their attention. It was bold, loud and, above all, fresh.
These New Puritans on their latest offering sound like they have kept all the exciting elements from their discography to date, but notched up the creativity level. Their third release doesn’t have that striking immediacy of its predecessor. It isn’t in your face or attention seeking, instead they have produced an album of sublime subtlety and artistry.
The addition of jazz singer Elisa Rodrigues adds to the eclectic mix of sounds. On opener The Way I Do, her childlike, whispering vocal create an eerie soundscape that remains deeply affecting for the rest of the album. Lead vocalist Jack Barnett has the sort of voice that crawls under your skin and lifts the hairs on the back of your neck. Coupled with the way the album plays out as you listen, it feels more like a work of contemporary classical music, with each song drifting into the other so you really have to listen to the vast array of instruments and composition. Nothing Else is where this is most evident. An unsettling duet of male/female vocals laced with beautiful brass and strings. It’s incredible.
This is the sound of a band that has taken a leaf out of the Björk’s school of artistry. They have created something richly unique and want to challenge their listener to experience something outside of their comfort zone. This is a record where each listen allows you to notice something. It is dark, murky and mysterious, and at times uncomfortable but better for it.
While the album may be difficult, challenging and at times not an easy listen, should you stick with it, you will be rewarded with something masterfully crafted, beautifully produced and like nothing you have heard before.
Field of Reeds was released on 10th June 2013.
Watch the video for We Want War here: