20 Watts

20 Watts Reivews These New Puritans’ Hidden by 20watts
March 2, 2010, 10:38 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , , ,

These New Puritans' HIdden is impressive, but needs more continuity

PREVIEW: VISIT These New Puritans MySpace

WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts

These New Puritans’ second full-length, Hidden, delivers an impressively loaded soundscape of experimental art rock. The album itself functions as a piece of modernist art, and it sounds like the playlist for an art museum in SoHo or Greenwich Village. It’s a jumble of tribal drum beats, skillful synth work, a thirteen-piece brass and woodwind ensemble and many other instruments.

Opening track “Time Xone,” works as a lackadaisical intro to the album, but coming off as way too boring. Consisting of a lonely, faint horn section it fails to motivate you to listen to the other ten tracks. Patience pays off though as the next track, seven-minute epic “We Want War,” more than makes up for Hidden’s slow beginning. It’s is a great example of how chaotic Hidden can be. The song starts off with a driving tribal drum beat, then rises and falls on what seems like a whim. Woodwind and brass instruments provide a beautiful, soothing background, while the drums have this quality of beating the listener in their chest.

“Hologram” incorporates a quiet but steady xylophone, a lovely layering of the aforementioned brass and woodwind instruments with piano and the soft, soothing vocals of frontman Jack Barnett. While the track moves with a slow, relaxed pace, “Attack Music” comes on next like a rabid wolf ready to pounce.  Driven by a heavily intense, thumping drum section this transition ends up feeling both awkward and unsettling.

And that gets to this album’s problem. While These New Puritans can impressively mix many different instruments and sounds together, the lack of continuity is discomforting. This album is just too all over the place, and it ultimately works to the band’s detriment.

-Eric Hoffman

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