Saturday, 12 April 2008

ALBUM: These New Puritans - Beat Pyramid

There's a fine line between creativity and bullshit and 'Beat Pyramid' makes These New Puritans sound like they've just been pulled over by a police officer after waking up at the wheel in a drunken daze and told to walk the line. 'Beat Pyramid' has some great moments in all its electro-garage mentalness but all too often it's just pretentious and unlistenable.

There's the obvious comparisons to make with The Fall and Mark E. Smith that every music journalist has already made but it doesn't really go further than the tendancy to repeat their cryptic lines, lyrics concerning history and science and the paranormal and a vague resemblance in sound. Still, Jack Barnett has none of Smith's intensity or ability to make you feel - everything sounds so carefully calculated and cold. At the same time, while Mark E. Smith's references seem to fit The Fall's work perfectly, because of how surprisingly unspontaneous 'Beat Pyramid' sounds, the mentions of astrology and the like sound like a feeble attempt to be artistic and deep that just make you want to say FUCK OFF.

On the other hand, there are some amazing electro-punk tunes that'll make you get up and dance without realizing it like 'Elvis' and 'C.16' but they seem to be when the band aren't trying their hardest to be weird.

I can appreciate some of the more experimental aspects of their music - it's a refreshing change from the regular Avril Lavigne three-chords-and-some-serious-marketing formula that dominates pop music - pop culture references like Michael Barrymore masturbating on 'MKK3' and other more fun tracks are highlights. However, in many ways TNP feel like a band taking themselves far too seriously with their lyrics which sometimes sound like bad poetry and I can't shake the feeling that NME have once again championed 'The New Eccentrics' as another vacuous genre to hide the fact they haven't had time to find any good new bands.

So when they're not passing you 2 minute slices of musical shit thinly veiled by their 'Elizabethan magic show' crap and lyrics stolen from cereal boxes and jumbled into nonsensical sentences (*cough, cough* '£4'), TNP have a lot to offer in the way of freaky post-punk insanity. Still, overall it's about a 5/10.

Ollie Khakwani

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