About two months after its release, These New Puritans third long-play Fields of Reeds remains just as challenging as on its first listen. It can be frustrating and unsettling in equal amounts, yet there are compositions that are wonderful right down to their core. First single “Fragment Two” was one such piece; a still purification of brooding piano chords and horns, dithered with irregular drum-patterns. It is perhaps the least unsettling composition on the record and not as ominously bleak as the albums darkest moments. However, the aptly titled “Organ Eternal” is easily the greatest moment on the album. It’s a sedative creation revolving around a beautiful arpeggiated synth loop. Jack Barnett whispers his abstract vocals as on most of the album, while the middle passage revolves around a fully orchestrated drum-less arrangement. Then after a sudden pause, the synthetic organ loop kicks back in, fading out into oblivion while leaving the listener in a spellbound state of mind.
It’s at times hard to comprehend that this song comes from the same band that gave us the frantic post-punk Beat Pyramid and the almost equally destructive follow-up Hidden. “Organ Eternal”, as the rest of Fields Of Reeds, is an uncompromising and intimate in a way few songs or albums are, but they need patience to flourish and full engagement form the listener, otherwise they risk of becoming no more than pale obscurities. While the album may never become a favorite of mine, I find myself returning to it with higher frequency, and to be honest, two months may not nearly be enough for a final verdict. Who knows, it may eventually end up on our year end list.