Release Date: Oct 20, 2014
Record label: Infectious
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
So you probably heard These New Puritans’ 2013 masterpiece, Field Of Reeds, and figured it’s the sort of thing that couldn’t actually be performed by humans, let alone in real time. Ever willing to give you a what-the-fuck moment, TNP took to London’s Barbican earlier this year, in April, to render the whole thing on stage, aided by a full orchestra. Far from lifting the veil, its live performance further deepens the album’s mystery.
These New Puritans are "post-rock" in an unusually literal way—since encrypting post-punk on 2008’s wiry, caustic Beat Pyramid, they’ve been an avant-garde band with a major-label budget, integrating classical composition, jazz instrumentation, musique concrete, primitive folk, dancehall, basically everything but rock'n'roll. More importantly, while they’ve maintained something of a power trio lineup, no one asks them a question so often posed to “rock bands”—“How are they going to pull this off live?” The apt comparisons to the otherwise incomparable Talk Talk are warranted, as the creation of Hidden and Field of Reeds were similarly defined by the trio’s isolation—from trends, from budgetary constraints and from the mundanity of the album cycle. Likewise, they use near-mythical tales of studio trickery to tease fans rather than singles, as Victoria’s Secret money gets funneled into Foley effects and falconry, Britain’s lowest voice and eight-foot Japanese taiko drums.
These New Puritans have made their name with disregard for convention and a pursuit of unexplored sounds. On last year’s chilly ‘Field Of Reeds’, however, the London trio’s neoclassical interests edged them towards Radio 3, a trend they embraced with their ‘Expanded’ concerts. With the band swelled to a 35-piece orchestra and choir ensemble, this live recording presents ‘Field Of Reeds’ in its entirety.