Channelling new wave through a dark contemporary lens, English act These New Puritans have returned with their fourth album, ‘Inside The Rose’. Recorded and written in various places including Berlin and London, the band chop together new influences and new ideas to create a brilliantly cohesive record, unlike any of their previous releases.
Infinity headphones sets the mood for the album, with dark brooding synthesisers and brooding vocals. The bands’ style channels 80’s sounding drums and synth sounds, and functions as an indicator of how well the band can merge these older styles with their own contemporary sonic palette.
Title track Inside The Rose swells with beautifully emotive strings and frontman Jack Barnett delivers his vocals with a sleepy apathy that perfectly builds a sense of foreboding, before thumping drums and dark electronic rumbles that draws a comparison to English electronic artists like Burial.
This track leads into similarly atmospheric track, Where the Trees Are On Fire which again builds on a foundation of strings and brass. Lyrically the song follows a similar nihilistic and dark approach, depicting a nightmarish hell of some kind. Barnett’s voice is excellent at being beautiful but moody, adding to the overall atmosphere of the music backing up his lyrics.
The album finishes on a more electronic note. On tracks like A-R-P and closer Six draw similarities to Neo-Classical artists like Nils Frahm, and as Barnett sings over the top of the instrumentals, his style sounds almost like an unintentional homage to the late Mark Hollis of Talk Talk.
Despite the cohesiveness of the track listing, Six isn’t much in the way of a dramatic closer and left me feeling a little underwhelmed. The band is at its best on the more complete songs on the record and at their more thunderous moments such as on Into the Fire and third track Beyond Black. However, These New Puritans have created a record unique to them, providing a sonic backdrop to their mission statement of re-inventing familiar styles and taking them to new heights.