In the world of music there is a fine line between achieving unrivalled genius and failed originality in the search to discover new, captivating, and popular sounds. Southend-On-Sea based band, These New Puritans, operate on this very line. Their bold mix of new and traditional instrumentation and techniques providing a thrilling evening as they played to a packed crowd at London’s Heaven nightclub.
Jack Barnett’s band began with the most incredibly intense of atmospheric introductions. The stage remained dimmed and clouded for ‘Spiral’, creating great tension and anticipation. These New Puritans were joined on stage by Elisa Rodrigues and a small brass contingent. Singer and saxophone cut through the crowd like a siren through the misty seas.
For audience members who came comparing them to Hurts, Thom Yorke, or even “Linkin Park with an orchestra”, These New Puritans were set to be a tease throughout. Their “drops” were fulfilling but only to those who failed to appreciate the true majesty of their performance. The band used the full set of instruments available to them to their advantage; the drums punctuating and guiding ‘Attack Music’ while the scored orchestra came to the fore during ‘Drum Courts – Where Corals Lie’.
The set became heavier as the evening progressed. Thomas Hein’s use of loops, samples, and keyboard bringing it to a pre-encore climax in the form of the repetitive beauty of ‘Organ Eternal’. These New Puritans are a band who, like their name suggests, stay true to the power of their instruments and understand that the power of a voice is not limited to the words that come out of it. Jack and Elisa throw back and forth from early on, particularly with the lead track, ‘Fragment Two’ from their third and newest album ‘Field of Reeds’; their beautiful harmonies make up for the lack of a stand-out chorus or clear progressive impetus.
These New Puritans have failed to achieve tangible commercial success but their Heaven gig displayed the very attributes they deserve to be commended for. Barnett and band make their expert musical understanding appear frightfully simplistic and have fashioned for themselves the ability to take their audience on a dramatic journey through elegant musical landscapes.