These New Puritans: Fields of Reeds (Infectious)

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These New Puritans: Dream
These New Puritans: Fields of Reeds (Infectious)

Start as you mean to go on, they say. And TNP's Jack Barnett certainly leads you into this project gently with an opening track where the slow piano and horns are in the foreground and somewhere down a long corridor a woman seems to be singing her way through something akin to Bacharach-David's This Guy's in Love With You.

This isn't a collar-grabbing start but one which immediately makes you stop, slow down and try to engage with it as the horn section slides across your sightlines and then everything tails down into the subsequent piece, Fragment Two.

TNPs are an ambitious outfit from London which orchestrates and arranges stately music which also includes electronics and, on this album, a children's chorus (not as twee as that sounds) and choral parts. Lyrically it is all about space (in life, relationships) and you could spend a lot of time combing for threads and clues.

So this is art music for enjoyment and analysis where your reference points might be Scott Walker around Tilt, experimental contemporary chamber music and just a smidgen of pretension.

It is lovely, challenging, never without interest and . . . my suspicion is those who have hailed it are perhaps in awe of its scope, absolute seriousness and ambition, but -- like me -- would never play it that often after a few hearings. 

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Gary Steel - Jul 16, 2013

Maybe, just maybe, it's not necessary to play the album over and over, because maybe, just maybe, it makes such an impression that it stays with you... like hearing a tui at dawn. Perhaps this craving for repetition of favourite songs is just a symptom of the disease...

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