Album of the week (22 March): These New Puritans – Inside The Rose

The fourth studio album from Southend’s Barnett twins is probably the most accessible These New Puritans album so far. Do expect too many roller coaster-type thrills on Inside The Rose, but this is most certainly a rewarding listen for TNP fans and newcomers alike.

There are some delicious moments of contrasting light and dark tones on this album – often at the same time. Opener Infinity Vibraphones is a case in point. It is both soft and ominous, with the vibraphones of the track name providing a juxtaposition of impatient relaxation, rounded off with some emotive strings and a militaristic drumbeat.

This contrast of near blissful tones against a dark background features strongly on other tracks, such as A-R-P, with its arpeggiated keyboards giving way to some much softer tones interspersed with the occasional brief bout of heavy distorted bass.

Like several of the tracks on Inside the Rose, the rhythm section is nowhere to be found on ARP, until very late on in the track. Where The Trees Are On Fire employs a similar tactic, which until the final third is a slow, beautiful lament, and the only real deployment of TNP’s trademark brass section on the album.

The reluctance to put real rhythm behind a lot of the tracks can feel frustrating at times, as the sense is that’s it’s always just around the corner, and on tracks such as Beyond Black Sun, it can start to feel a little dirge-like. However, the overall ominous beauty that’s on show overshadows this and while there are still some notes of discordance that TNP are well-known for, such as on Anti-Gravity or the twisted rhythms on the challenging but ultimately rewarding Into The Fire, they are nowhere near the levels seen on previous works.

Another fine work from a now well-established band exploring the possibilities within their unique style.

Release date: 22 March 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: Into The Fire

For fans of:

  • Teeth Of The Sea
  • Gazelle Twin
  • The Twilight Sad

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2018 Music Review – September

A couple of my old favourites made an appearance in September. Firstly rave veterans Orbital produced another solid piece after reforming for the second time. Still not close to the absolute genius that is the Brown Album, but then again what is?

The kind of loops The Field also returned for a fifth slice of perfectly pitched, slow building ambient dance tracks that lull you into a trace-like state without you even realising it.

Other notable releases include Low, with their 18th album taking them in a new direction while simultaneously turning out to be one of their best. Leeds-based Menace Beach combination of indie and 60’s beach rock also impressed.

However it was Canadian alt-rock group Dilly Dally who tickled my fancy the most in September, with a strong slab of indie-pop and grunge coupled with the gravelly vocals of Katie Monk. Very nice indeed.

Top 10 September 2018

1: Dilly Dally – Heaven

Standout track: I Feel Free

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2: Low – Double Negative

Standout track: Disarray

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3: Menace Beach – Black Rainbow Sounds

Standout track: Hypnotiser Keeps the Ball Rolling

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4: The Field – Infinite Moment

Standout track: Divide Now

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5: Gazelle Twin – Pastoral

Standout track: Better in My Day

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6: Orbital – Monsters Exist

Standout track: There Will Come a Time (feat. Prof. Brian Cox)

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7: Black Honey – Black Honey

Standout track: I Only Hurt the Ones I Love

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8: Beak> – >>>

Standout track: Allé Sauvage

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9: Chris Liebing – Burn Slow

Standout track: And All Went Dark (feat. Polly Scattergood)

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10: Bob Moses – Battle Lines

Standout track: Battle Lines

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