THESE NEW PURITANS
“We're anti-'experimental,'” emphasizes Jack Barnett of These New Puritans, “anti-distortion, anti-avant garde. I'm into narrative, precision, clarity. I'm not one of those musicians who is obsessed with inspecting their instruments and trying to extract every possible sound from them or trying to reduce them down."
As their name suggests, These New Puritans are a group on a very precise mission. Hailing from around Southend-On-Sea, and consisting of Barnett, his twin brother George, Thomas Hein and Sophie Sleigh-Johnson, they have established their reputation through a series of high profile live appearances alongside the likes of The Kills and Klaxons. They first came to prominence with their 2008 debut album, Beat Pyramid. Urgent, pared down, eyes on stalks, sharp as a stick, it was hailed by the NME as demonstrating a “span of ideas and singularity of vision that simply shouldn't happen to 20 year olds. They've created their own imperfect world.”
Now comes the evidence of that in the form of Hidden, their second album, a work so extraordinary in its range, ambition and clarity of purpose as to defy overall comparison with anything you have ever heard. Hidden is an album which pulls together a host of unlikely influences – the later, more developed work of Steve Reich, with whose “interlocking rhythms” Barnett fell in love when he first heard them at a Leeds record shop, Britney Spears, Japanese percussion and, in particular, the great British composer Benjamin Britten, with whom These New Puritans literally share common ground – the Thames estuary in which both grew up.