Hidden is a real UK horror show, mixing grim, industrial beats with mannered, regal horns and a persistent aura of foggy uneasiness. These New Puritans reveal a penchant for æsthetic violence and revolutionary action that, though rarely convincing, matches the uncompromising intensity and martial tenor of the music.
"We Want War" is a seven-minute epic of bleakness, where dancehall rhythms clash with sonorous woodwinds and eerie chanting. You can hear the bandmembers winding themselves tighter and tighter, into a concentrated ball of tension. "Attack Music" proves that choirs of English schoolchildren remain unfathomably creepy 30 years after The Wall. "Hologram" is a welcome break from the gloom and doom, copping a minimalist melody that allows vocalist Jack Barnett to drop his droogy affect and croon over the jazzy, chiming piano riff.
Barnett's weaponized, staccato vocals join the percussion on "Drum Courts" but climb up the rising melody of a bassoon into "Where Corals Lie," poking a breathing hole in the otherwise claustrophobic track. The dark themes and conceptual arc of Hidden are akin to Liars' Sisterworld, but These New Puritans maintain a sense of prim composure that may appeal to listeners who prefer their dread to be more precise, less anarchic.