"Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?" That's all this humble journalist knows about Puritanism, from the quill of Shakespeare. And if music doesn't involve cakes or ale, well, what's the point? Not that such trivialities really matter, cos These New Puritans don't really subscribe to the ideas of Malvolio and his ilk. Their seedy club boogie of broken synths and shouted hollers is as far removed from moralistic nonsense as can be.
Hailing Greek pottery, dubstep, Kafka and the Wu Tang Clan should make for a fairly wide depth of genre on display. Cool List appearances & friends with the Horrors, this Southend hotchpotch tick all the boxes on the form marked “Hype Band Application Form”. Sadly, as others have branded them, they do sound like a slightly younger, more southern, slightly less alcohol drenched version of the Fall.
'Numerology (AKA Numbers)' has lead singer Jack Barnett heckling like the poppered up son of Mark E Smith “what's your favourite number, what does it mean.” Despite the obvious influences, they have enough of their own sound to make it their own. 'Swords Of Truth' is like a heavier version of Liars gone all sinister disco, with a pinch of MIA clarion calls.
The album rides along its bass heavy furrows and crests, merging into a gritty piece of (whisper it) new rave-esque electronic . 'En Papier' clangs & crashes, with repeated mantras reminiscent of Foals at their glitch disco best. 'MKK3' manages to reference Michael Barrymore & Milton Keynes, scoring high on the “Lyrical Reference Point” scale. The slower pace of the track, filled with synth crashes & moody vocals, make it a welcome change in tempo.
A disappointing result from the perspective of their influences. A grand result based on the bit that matters (not the journalistic ephemera). And all at that tender age of 19. Despite a lack of variation in the oeuvre (a problem on a 16 tracker), this debut is a perfect demonstration of a group attempting something new in this era of retro raping copycats. Bigger than the hype?