These New Puritans - Inside the Rose - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

These New Puritans - Inside the Rose

by Tim Sentz Rating:8 Release Date:2019-03-22
These New Puritans - Inside the Rose
These New Puritans - Inside the Rose

Die-hard fans of the UK post-punk/art rock band These New Puritans have waited patiently since 2013 for the proper follow-up to their underrated classic Field of Reeds. After spending their first two records – 2008’s Beat Pyramid and 2010’s Hidden – toying with the classification of post-punk and new wave music, the then three-piece (Thomas Hein left in 2016) crafted their most compelling record to date with Field of Reeds. A lot of genre labels were thrown out – dark wave, neoclassical, etc.  – mostly because nothing else sounded like These New Puritans in 2013.

Inside the Rose, their first record in 6 years, finds the duo Barnett brothers dialing the left-of-center feel from Field of Reeds a tiny bit back, but offering up another slice of post-punk that pushes more boundaries than it keeps intact. “Infinity Vibrations” kicks the record off in true TNS style, with lavish strings, over soft keys, slowly building to a tease. It isn’t until over 2 minutes into the song that we get pummeling, militaristic drums, and those never creep to a thrashing. Instead, they stay comfortable while the violent organs in the back prepare the listener for the next stage of the 6-minute affair.

Inside the Rose shares more in common with 2010’s Hidden, my personal favorite of their discography. A lot of the feelings from that record have carried over here – but it also shares a lot of the aesthetic of Field of Reeds. There’s no definitive single on Inside the Rose, but the album flows like a complete thought, something the band has tried to stay true to since they abandoned the new wave points of Beat Pyramid – basically if you enjoyed that record’s most memorable song “Elvis,” this is a far cry from that.

That’s not to say that the album is a grave departure from their beginnings. They still possess electronic elements, like on the title track, which showcases their ability to combine multiple sounds cohesively. There’s a feeling of dread pulsating through the album too, a lot of the synths, organs, and even the beats, are heavy and thick with a quieted rage. It’s hard to point out certain songs on the record when the truth is that Inside the Rose needs to be consumed as a whole, rather than in its smaller increments. As with all album promotion, singles are lopped off from it to build anticipation, but I implore you to take in Inside the Rose – just like with all albums of this caliber – as a whole.

The consumption of albums as a whole isn’t a new concept either, and many of These New Puritans peers have the same issue; look no further than Liars, who have spent years crafting spellbinding records like Drum’s Not Dead and even Sisterworld – but still have to tear off tiny bits. Inside the Rose is a summation of everything These New Puritans have done up to this point. It takes the Joy Division approach to songwriting – punctuated with dark synth rock and douses it in lavish string arrangements like violin and cello. It may not push the boundaries like Fields of Reeds, but it’s still a captivating listen, and one of the best records of 2019 so far.

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I found an old New Rave compilation yesterday on my shelf and these were on it. It's called Digital Penetration. They might be the only band still going from that scene.

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