These New Puritans: Hidden (Domino) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #30 - Winter 2010 - Vampire WeekendThese New Puritans



Mar 02, 2010 Issue #30 - Winter 2010 - Vampire Weekend Bookmark and Share

These New Puritans make songs that are spastic, harsh, and urgent, founded on coats of electronics and repetitive, vague, and half-spoken vocals from frontman Jack Barnett. Hidden, the young British group’s sophomore full-length, was made much in the same vein as 2007’s Beat Pyramid, but at times it’s even less coherent. The opener, “Time Xone,” is two minutes of unhurried, melodic woodwinds and horns that nonsensically segue into the bombastic bass thuds, rim-clicks, and wavering synths of the record’s first single, “We Want War.” It’s an intense track with a low, monstrous chant of “We want war” throughout it and, like much of TNP’s work, perhaps best fit for a video game.

While Beat Pyramid had some melodic guitar contributions, the six-stringsif there even are any this timeget lost on Hidden. Instead, the band employs extra synth chords, orchestral arrangements, and a children’s choir. The choir is particularly haunting in “Attack Music,” which sounds just like its title would suggest and uses the sounds of pulling out a sword amid clarinets and breaking glass. There are two instrumental interludes besides the opener, and the orchestra, which also appears in “Drum Courts-Where Chorals Lie,” works much better when it’s laced in with the electronics, rather than used separately. The most out-of-place moment, though, is “Hologram,” a piano-driven jazz song with wacky time-signature changes that Barnett actually sings instead of chants.

Ultimately, it’s the combination of drums, both acoustic and synthesized, that keep the record afloat, from the tribal beats in “We Want War,” to the amazing marching-band drumline-sounding effects in “Fire-Power,” to the gorgeous bell chorus throughout “5” (the last of which hardly fits with the rest of the set). Despite the consistently grating vocals and an overall lack of cohesion, the beats make it worth a listen. (

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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March 2nd 2010

Shame on you! Go get a new pair of ears. A FIVE?? One worse than Editors??? Do me a favour. This is a modern masterpiece. For all the lovers out there, check this making-of interview: Unbound ambition.

March 7th 2010

Did they refuse your interview request or something? Give them some slack, maybe they were busy making mindblowing records. There is no way this is a 5.

Kyle Lemmon
March 8th 2010

This deserved at least a 7!!

March 9th 2010

Ah guys I understand your frustration, but I for one am not surprised. UTR gave The xx a 5 as well last year. Apparently there’s a memo that goes round that tells its reviewers to slate English bands, regardless of quality. UTR has become worse than Pitchfork; at least PM understands the quality of people like xx and TNP.

Mark Redfern
March 9th 2010

Mark Redfern, Senior Editor of Under the Radar here. In response to Dodds, there’s certainly no memo that’s been circulating. We have favorably covered a ton of British bands over the years. Back in 2005 he had a huge retrospective on the mid-‘90s Britpop scene, for example. Our new issue contains interviews with 8 different British artists. Laura Leebove, the writer of this review, arrived at a 5/10 all by herself. I personally might have given the record a 6/10, maybe higher. I do love the song and video for “We Want War,” but I didn’t feel that the album was wholly successful (some parts I found to be a little grating). But the band gets points for trying to do something interesting. As for The xx, I personally found that album to be a bit of a bore. Sure, it was nice and pleasant, but I’m not really sure what all the fuss was about. But I didn’t instruct that writer to give The xx a bad review, she arrived at that by herself. All of our writers are free to express whatever opinion they’d like. Can’t please everyone.

March 10th 2010

You know Mark, maybe you SHOULD have intervened with the score cos the way I, other readers, and other bands currently see it, it’s better to make Joy Division/New Order mildly-commercial copies than to compose your own classical pieces and make something unique (in this day and age!) and powerful. Because with the former at least you get a 6 and not a 5. That’s the message you’re sending out with these sort of ratings. And I for one will now think twice before reading UTR again. It’s been building up over the past couple of years, not just about British bands or The xx.

printing reviews
July 23rd 2010

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January 10th 2011

There are two instrumental interludes besides the opener, and the orchestra, which also appears in “Drum Courts-Where Chorals Lie,” works much better when it’s laced in with the electronics, rather than used separately. “Rolex Prices

October 22nd 2012

Times are changing for the better if I can get this olnnie!