Third on the lineup for HOSTESS CLUB WEEKENDER in Tokyo on the Saturday are London-based alt-rock stars THESE NEW PURITANS. The band’s live lineup features members Jack Barnett on lead guitar and vocals, his twin brother George on digital drums and loops and Thomas Hein on drums, plus live guest performers on trumpet, french horn and keys. In the absence of long-time member Sophie Sleigh-Johnson, the group now performs with fado singer Elisa Rodrigues, however for their Tokyo performance they mixed it up by instead inviting pop sensation Salyu to cover.
These New Puritans open their Tokyo set with “Spiral,” the fifth track on their third and latest album “Field Of Reeds” (released 10 June), and the response is one of great excitement. Despite a general lack of movement on stage, the show is still visually engaging, the multi-instrumentation and continuous switching up of instruments keeping it intriguing. Their music is complex and incredibly well-written, incorporating enough skilful key changes and spatterings of impending doom crescendos to keep the audience on their toes. The combination of a live stage drummer with digital drums makes for really deep and punchy rhythms as well as a visually unique experience, all tying in with their epic instrumentation. Frantic, almost stressful buildups and dire tones break out into massive waves of sound, and yet, as is often the case with Japanese audiences, the crowd is not particularly physically responsive (aside from two diamonds in the rough on either side of me, grooving eyes-closed). Of course perhaps this rolling, expansive instrumental style of music isn’t one to particularly induce an energetic crowd. In total the band play three songs from their new release, the remainder including old favourites “Three Thousand,” “Attack Music” and a grand finale featuring “We Want War.”
A notable part of their performance is the featuring of aforementioned iconic J-Pop star SALYU on guest vocals for the entirety of the show. Salyu debuted in 2000 under the moniker “Lily Chou-Chou” when her music was featured on the soundtrack of popular cult film “All About Lily Chou-Chou”, which tells the story of a group of young teens obsessed with the pop idol. She’s since released five albums under the new name Salyu, and is notable for having collaborated with Mr. Children and having a song on the soundtrack of Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.”
These New Puritans’ latest album “Field of Reeds” is out now on Infectious Records, and the group have upcoming shows in London, Madrid and Berlin later this month.