(BMG, out Fri 22 Mar 2019)
With a post-any-genre-you-care-to-mention sensibility to their back catalogue, it’s almost impossible to second-guess These New Puritans. Formed in Southend by twin brothers Jack and George Barnett, their musical scope and vision is dazzling. They transcend easy classification, and seemingly work to their own unique logic.
Recorded in an old broadcasting studio in Berlin, Inside The Rose is a thing of glacial, fragile beauty. The title track itself is like techno slowed down to a narcotic torpor. Infused with unease and feral desire, there are glitchy, juddering electronics (Into The Fire) vibraphones (opener Infinity Vibraphones) and some of the saddest strings ever recorded in Lost Angel.
But where industrial bands like Swans previously influenced the band, there’s now more of an early 80s synth leaning. The stunning Anti-Gravity oozes the kind of woozy sci-fi shimmer created by Yellow Magic Orchestra, and by extension, Japan at their most esoteric.
The two standout tracks occupy murkier spaces. Recorded in collaboration with Taiwanese artist and producer Scintii, Beyond Black Suns fuses monolithic chants with her chilling metallic vocals. It’s as disquieting as it’s sexy.
Meanwhile, Where The Trees Are On Fire is a hymn to ecological disaster. The doomy chimes and brass fill the room with an almost unbearable sense of loss. The vocals hang like vapour trails: “This is where your dreams come true / Your nightmares too / Where trees are on fire”. It’s absolutely devastating.
Dystopian visions have rarely sounded so divine.