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These New Puritans – Field of Reeds

These New Puritans – 'Field of Reeds' album review

Beauty, austerity and progression are the hallmarks of the band's third album

By Phil Harrison

These New Puritans – 'Field of Reeds'

3 out of 5 stars

Their name is cribbed from a song by The Fall, and it’s fitting because – much like Mark E Smith’s ever-evolving life’s work – These New Puritans have never really gone in for looking back. Certainly, in the context of ‘Field of Reeds’, the angular post-punk of their 2008 debut ‘Beat Pyramid’ seems like the work of a different band. This latest album features sombre woodwind, stately strings, a children’s choir and jazz singer Elisa Rodrigues. Parts of the album recall the still, poised elegance of post-pop stardom-era Talk Talk. Much of it is both beautiful and unclassifiable; ‘Organ Eternal’ for example, sounds like some previously unexplored middle ground between chamber music and ambient techno. And just occasionally things feel a little too austere and one-paced – what feels delightfully complex and ambitious to some might seem a little forbidding to others. But in these musically timid times, we’re just glad someone’s still making the effort.

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