Cherwell

Wanted: New Singer

 Album review: Beat Pyramid by These New Puritans Every song on this album follows the pattern of opening track, ‘Numerology’. An insistent drum-beat starts out, broken into by a harsh guitar riff, before the whole thing is ruined by meaningless repetitive lyrics in Jack Barnett’s terribly grating voice. “Are these guys American?”, my roommate asks, “perhaps they’ve been affected by the writers’ strike?”. Barnett appears to be trying to use his voice like an instrument, constantly repeating the same words. Trouble is, the words are hollow and his voice is unpleasant and whiny. This effect only really works well on the oddly-named track ‘£4’, and I longed for more tracks like ‘MKK3’, where the singer’s voice suits the bleak monologue and he doesn’t repeat himself too much or actually attempt to sing.This is a shame because the band has a genuinely good rhythm section, reminiscent of Interpol or Franz Ferdinand at their best. Synth effects are less uniformly successful. They can they provide brooding interludes or palate-cleansers as in ‘Colours’ and ‘En Papier’, but sometimes they just get in the way or sound cheap, as in ‘Costume’ and ‘Swords of Truth’. All in all, this is a bruising, unforgiving record. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to listen to this start to finish; it pounds ceaselessly into your skull and the band don’t seem to have grasped the concept of varying their sound to give the listener a break. Having said that, there are some songs that would work great at indie club nights; they know how to build up to a climax and break it down. This is an eminently danceable record with some great beats and rhythms, and if they just found themselves a new vocalist they could even go far.
Two stars.
– Michael Bennett