Music: These New Puritans

What's your favourite number, what does it mean?
"Numbers"

These New Puritans is an English rock band founded in 2006.

They have released three albums so far, all of them very different. Beat Pyramid was a Post-Punk style album, heavily influenced by The Fall and featuring very obtuse and literate lyrics. Hidden was something else entirely - an extremely weird album based largely around electronics and Everything Is an Instrument samples, featuring a horn section and Japanese taiko drums on most songs and with influences from world music and neoclassical music. On their newest, Field of Reeds, they've drifted further into a neoclassical influence, this time with an emphasis on much slower, understated material.

Discography:
  • Beat Pyramid (2008)
  • Hidden (2010)
  • Field of Reeds (2013)

The band consists of':
  • Jack Barnett - Lead vocals, guitar, producer, multi-instrumentalist
  • George Barnett - Drums, programming
  • Thomas Hein - Bass guitar, sampler, keyboards, percussion
  • Sophie Sleigh-Johnson - Keyboards, sampler

This band provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Call Back: Rather unusually for a rock band, they often refer to previous songs both lyrically and musically.
  • Epic Rocking: "We Want War" is 7:23.
    • Field of Reeds has some of their longest tracks to date- "The Light in Your Name" (6:03) "V (Island Song)" (9:16), "Spiral" (6:03), "Nothing Else" (7:49), and the title track (6:29). Another track that would fall into this category from Hidden is the track "Drum Courts - Where Corals Lie", which makes it into the category of "Epic rocking", modestly, at 6:14. They also did a track, around the time of Beat Pyramid, called "Navigate, Navigate", which reaches 15:37.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Hidden extensively uses various sound effects such as guns cocking, swords being drawn and rattling chains as part of the music, especially in "Attack Music". Notably, "Orion" features the sound of a melon covered in crackers being hit with a mallet to imitate the sound of a human head being crushed.
  • Genre-Busting: Hidden, most definitely. "Dancehall meets Steve Reich" is how Jack Barnett describes it.
  • Kids Rock: "Attack Music" features a children's choir. The same choir also shows up on fellow Hidden tracks "Orion" and "5".
  • Looped Lyrics: Most of their songs have one phrase that repeats a lot, particularly "Fire-Power", which consists almost entirely of the phrase "I'm in the fire, fire, fire".
  • New Sound Album: Hidden, which was a switch from the post-punk style of Beat Pyramid to strange electronic-orchestral art rock.
    • Field of Reeds also counts- it's practically the exact opposite in terms of Hidden sonically, in spite of the fact that they're using a similar sonic palette.
  • Numerological Motif: Discussed in "Numbers".
  • Perishing Alt Rock Voice: Jack Barnett uses this delivery on Hidden - quite a difference from his Mark E. Smith-style vocals on Beat Pyramid.
    • It's taken up to 11 on Field of Reeds, where his voice so quietly sung among the rest of the instrumentation that he's frequently unintelligible.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Hologram", a quiet piano-driven song which comes after two loud and dark tracks.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Their lyrics feature references to everything from numerology to pre-Socratic philosophy. The very music of Hidden also seems designed to invoke this.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Discussed in "Swords of Truth" - "You know I'll be thinking this music's symbolic, this music is weightless and when I sing, so am I".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Quite a lot, but "Three Thousand" has some of the best.
    Wear fun death suit, tropical design
    —> Blade grammar to the death, everybody run