These New Puritans Hidden

These New Puritans Hidden
Don't be mistaken: this is indeed the second album from English post-punk agitators These New Puritans. You'll be thrown off by first track "Time Xone," which features only a 13-piece brass and woodwind ensemble gently warming up. And even when confrontational single "We Want War" kicks in, it sounds more like the next wave of grime than it does the band that gave us Beat Pyramid just two years ago. Before, they sounded like a tightly wound version of the Fall. Now, TNP sound a bit like everything and nothing else out there. Hidden is the kind of statement artists make when they've decided not to give a shit, choosing not to compromise for popularity's sake. Similar to Radiohead's Kid A, it's an album that radically overhauls the band's sound and breaks down the barriers between rock's uniformity and electronic music's futurism. But it's not that simple. There is a fixation with classical compositions, the bombastic rhythms of dancehall and the minimalist side of jazz that complicates and enlivens matters. "Attack Music" is a punk's impression of dub-step, throwing broken glass and a children's choir up against stabbing beats and intruding brass. Using a combination of crackers and watermelon to simulate a skull crushing, as well as a crashing taiko drum, "Fire-Power" is fierce and militant enough rhythmically to intrigue M.I.A. Hidden is such a massive step forward that it leaves These New Puritans with carte blanche, as far as the future's concerned. What comes next is inconceivable, but something tells me they've already conceived it. And it's awesome. (Domino)