Beat Pyramid is the debut full length from the young (all less than twenty years old) UK-based foursome These New Puritans. Known for their raucous live show, the group has in a short time sold out a limited-run EP, created music for a fashion show, and now recorded this sixteen-song release with big-name producer Gareth Jones. Clocking in at only thirty-five minutes, it's a brash blast of angular power chords, shouted vocals, melts of electronics, and other sometimes-disparate sounds.
It's an odd album, with influences that seem to run the gamut from Franz Ferdinand to This Heat and Wire and even old-school rave music. The end results are sort of what you might expect given said influences, with a handful of songs that are downright amazing and a slew of others that feel rather slapdash and inconsistent. In fact, the first part of the album locks into a sort of modern-uptake of spit-shined post punk pop that pulses with youthful exuberance but not a whole lot else. "Numerology (Aka Numbers)," "Colours," and "Swords Of Truth" all blister with a combination of live drums, programmed beats, spazzy guitar, synths, and yelps of vocals that hint at greater things but somehow fail to really assert themselves (downright bad lyrics, especially in the case of the former track, don't help).
That said, the group hits onto some great moments in other places. "Doppelganger" runs just over a minute and a half, but the gorgeous filtered guitars, smooth bassline and rolls of beats make me with it would progress for three times that length, while "Mkk3" takes a few of the abrupt changes out of their sound and ends up better for it, as melancholy chords spiked with roars of feedback achieve something that their more spastic numbers don't touch. The same could be said of "Costume," which finds clanging guitars and pounding drums climbing out from a haze for a powerful stomp before dissolving into the mist of feedback once again. In the end, it seems interesting that These New Puritans have already been involved in creating music for a fashion show, because while appealing at times, their work still feels like form over function largely. The motions are there, but Beat Pyramid lacks real true depth. These New Puritans are just getting their feet wet, though, they should have time to work it out.