These New Puritans – ‘Expanded (Live At The Barbican)’

The London experimentalists' live album is impressive but fails to recreate some of the intimacy of their studio recordings

These New Puritans have made their name with disregard for convention and a pursuit of unexplored sounds. On last year’s chilly ‘Field Of Reeds’, however, the London trio’s neoclassical interests edged them towards Radio 3, a trend they embraced with their ‘Expanded’ concerts. With the band swelled to a 35-piece orchestra and choir ensemble, this live recording presents ‘Field Of Reeds’ in its entirety. While it’s an impressive document, it can’t quite recapture the nocturnal intimacy of ‘Nothing Else But This’ and ‘Dream’. An encore of songs from 2010’s ‘Hidden’, notably a pummelling ‘We Want War’, brings back TNP’s percussive thunder, but it’s the gentle brass lullaby of concluding new song ‘Spitting Stars’ that finally welcomes in some human warmth.


Stuart Huggett

Details

Record label: Infectious
Release date: 20 Oct, 2014