Friday, March 22, 2019

Album Review: These New Puritans - Inside The Rose

The new record from twin brothers George and Jack Barnett sees them blending the neo-classical approach of Field Of Reeds with post-rock elements to create a listening experience that’s at once cinematic and experimental.

It’s very telling that there are no guitars to be found anywhere on the album. In their stead are the lush orchestrations and choirs that have earned These New Puritans the “art-rock” classification, a convenient umbrella expression under which can be shoved anything that isn’t overly simplistic.

But thankfully the band defies categorisations and their dark mix of chamber music, synth-pop and more avant-guard aspirations won’t fit neatly into any pre-made bracket. If record stores weren’t, tragically, a thing of the past, it would be interesting to see in which category or sub-sub-category the clerks would file the album.

Overall the album is reminiscent of David Sylvian, but some incantations also recall Current 93 (David Tibet actually appears on the song Into The Fire) or some of Scott Walker’s more dramatic moments.

But under the experimental arrangements and erudite orchestrations are some truly memorable songs. I hesitate to use the word pop because it doesn’t do justice to the richness and complexity of these melodies and harmonies, but there is an immediacy to the tunes that definitely evokes that realm. And if the tunes are not what you could call danceable, some are propelled by surprisingly thunderous drums.

At under 40 minutes, Inside The Rose is a perfect statement of dark romanticism which should appeal to fans of Depeche Mode and Tindersticks alike.

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