U.K. experimental rockers These New Puritans have finally unleashed their second full-length record, Hidden. Their 2008 debut, Beat Pyramid, found the band exploring their post-punk roots, joining the already massive stable of like-minded British bands. Two years later, the band has turned their own sound on its ear, blowing up whatever foothold their first album gave them with Radiohead fans, but leaving something better in its place.
Gone is the post-punk vibe, replaced with an ambitious, genre-spanning sound. Taking bits from a wide range of genres -- world music, pop rhythms, even some a light dubstep -- These New Puritans have assembled an impressive sophomore effort.
Here's what the critics are saying.
What this critic says: "These New Puritans take influences near and far for their latest effort Hidden. The band employs sounds ranging from bassoons, tribal-esque drums and french horns -- with nary a guitar in sight. What comes forth is an incredibly ambitious and polished album that runs the gamete from the pounding, in-your-face, seven and a half minute opus "We Want War" to the stripped down, hymnal "Orion." The different styles all congeal to make one intensely inspired record."
is a statement, but not a manifesto. A band needs considerable imagination and skill, not to mention borderline delusional levels of ambition, to attempt this kind of project and hope to be successful. So we probably won't be hearing a lot about new genres "doombeat" or "woodwindwave" anytime soon. And now that they've shown what they're capable of, we can probably expect TNP to do something totally different, if not genuinely amazing, next time around."
: "With their second album, TNP have extended themselves beyond any rock'n'roll terminology and instead are rubbing shoulders with sound artisans like Mira Calix, exploring noise like a photographer explores light. Fittingly then, as they wave goodbye to The Fall-loving art-rock group they once were, the record begins with a Last Post of sorts as, from their own Ypres, TNP roll out 'Time Xone''s mournful brass farewell to everything you thought you knew about this band."
: "Now their second album arrives, and impressively it turns out that [lead singer] Barnett's blue-sky dreaming is actually a pretty accurate description of Hidden
- heavily beat-driven, almost entirely absent of guitars, and laced with large amounts of elaborately arranged woodwind and brass. Does it work? Largely, yes - nowhere better than on "We Want War," which kicks off the album following a short introduction. Seven minutes of tinny synthesised horns, droning bassoon, vaguely Timbaland drums and wood-on-wood clacks, it drifts in an eerie limbo between Massive Attack's Mezzanine and Liars' witchier material, and then chucks in a choir as well for good measure. Hidden
, you feel, is not intended to be easily palatable."
: "You've heard music like this before, just not all in the same place. Hidden
somehow synthesizes the concussive guitars and delirious chants of Liars, the cinematic industrial churn of Nine Inch Nails, brainy Reichian pattern music, Timbaland's spacey snap, and the moody winds and horns of composer Benjamin Britten. The disparate elements--cheap dance presets and six-foot Japanese drums, intricate Foley sound effects (the sort used in radio dramas), blitzkrieg guitars and springy synths, choral arrangements and angelic pianos--all interlock seamlessly."