These New Puritans are a band that, for the most part, defy description. Not quite post-punk, not quite rock, not quite ambient. It’s a strange and mysterious, and at times, quite cinematic, combination of sounds. In a recent interview, front man Jack Barnett shares his advice on the best way to record the sounds of a hawk’s wings, and has mentioned the methods taken on the last album where they smashed melons to simulate crushing heads – this is a band this strays from regular instrumentation. The new release, Field Of Reeds, is a release that is unlike anything you have heard this year. It is beautiful, dark, natural and, at times, quite intimidating.

The first two These New Puritans albums were emotionally cold pieces, they felt like a musical boot-camp in a siberian winter – tough and cold, but overall fulfilling (probably). Just like boot camp, These New Puritans had an aura of trained discipline and austerity, contrasted against some of the louder, blasting tracks, and some of the post-punkier cuts from their first effort, Beat Pyramid. However, on Field of Reeds, the band appears slightly more human, there seems to be a greater breath of air breathed through the record. The album is slow and brooding, it comes across reminiscent of an abstract nocturnal romance.

The first single from the album, ‘Fragment Two’, is a gorgeous composition that blends brass, strings and crisp drums into a darkly beautiful song about hope. The accompanying video effectively captures the style of this album, with the band members spread over various connecting backdrops, ending with a shot of a trumpeter blowing notes over a sleeping city.

This record is still characteristically within the same vein as the band’s previous releases, but where there was once cold distance, there is now emotion, albeit dark and brooding emotion. And instead of the harsh tribal drumming razor sharp sounds of their last album Hidden, Field Of Reeds takes and otherwise fluid, flowing approach – an easier, and calmer listen. However, there is still plenty of uncomfortable edge on the album. It has few easy access points, in it’s sparse and strange arrangements, filled with eerie lulls and sudden, discombobulating rushes of noise.

While Field of Reeds is a mysterious album in many ways, what it makes clear is Barnett’s faith in the purity of sound, rather than words, to communicate; lyrics he has previously sung make a lot of sense here: "This music is weightless, and when I sing, so am I."
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