Barely in their twenties, These New Puritans are more than willing to verbally admit their various influences, which range from the obvious (the Fall) to the obscure (16th century astrologer John Dee), and many of which are apparent on Beat Pyramid, their full-length debut, an angular, drum-driven album that dips into the experimental and the concrete without ever losing sight of itself. There's a seriousness to their music, most of which comes from bandleader Jack Barnett's straightforwardness and delivery. The lyrics don't deal with typical themes of love and sadness; instead, Barnett brings up ideas of numbers and colors and philosophy -- and these recur throughout the whole album, taking a very frank approach.
As I spin Beat Pyramid by These New Puritans for the fifth time in a few hours, I begin to wonder, how much longer can post-punk be mined? The genre’s calling cards: high bass lines, Morse code riffs, automated drums and singers who squawk out oblique lyrics like morose birds, have been recycled over and over, leaving very little to be explored. That’s hasn’t stopped bands from trying though. Even if you’ve never heard These New Puritans, you’ll swear you’ve heard the band’s music before.
These New Puritans make post-punk music for an audience who has heard everything there is to be said about the import of post-punk music. They play obstinately repetitive songs with taut rhythms and obtuse lyrics, but this is only fieldwork. The real motion of the project, it would appear, consists in getting bored with and stripping down a cultural philosophy based on getting bored with and stripping down culture.