This Town Needs Guns: 126.96.36.199.0 (Sargent House)
DL / LP / CD
This Town Needs Guns manage to move forward without losing what makes them special on 188.8.131.52.0.
It has been a long time since Oxford based Indie Rock band This Town Needs Guns released Animals in ’08. At the time they naively assumed the title was unique, only to be informed, or rather reminded, of the Pink Floyd album of the same name just days before their album launch party.
A lot has changed since their inception when they played with five members and indeed a lot has changed since the Animals-era when original member Stuart Smith put down his guitar to focus on singing and they played as a four piece taking full advantage of Tim Collis’ ability to play more notes than most guitarists could manage even if they were to have three extra arms sewn on. Now a power trio, the sweet, clean, and somewhat delightful vocals of ex-Pennines’ singer and guitarist Henry Tremain are akin to the hushed elegance of fellow indie math-rocker Alan Welsh of Tangled Hair, Someone Died and ex-Colour. As his vocal cords are not all too dissimilar from the heartfelt and moving vocal enchantment of ex-member Stuart Smith they chose his replacement well. Old fans will undoubtedly stay onboard when they continue to produce angelic ballads like 2 Birds, 1 Stone And An Empty Stomach. In addition to singing Tremain also plays the bass. It sounds wide and thick especially on In The Branches of Yggdrasil, and it is more prevalent than on previous releases.
Cat Fantastic will be familiar to fans of the band as it was revealed as long as four months ago. This track, along with previous single Adventure Stamina & Anger (the first release of TTNG Model 3.0) is a good indicator of the direction they take on this album. The guitar is always pretty, like the Japanese Math rockers Toe whom they shared a stage with last year, but now with faint touches of ambience it sounds more open and atmospheric. No more so than in Left Aligned which would no doubt impress Dave Knudson of Minus The Bear. Chris Collis does his best to match the talents of his brother whilst holding the tracks together before they fall apart, or in the case of Havoc in the Forum end abruptly.
The beauty that was ever-present on Animals, is again the signature characteristic, but the Mew like experimentation like that seen on Animals backwards track Quetsal is pushed further and on more of the cuts in 184.108.40.206.0. Calming sounds of the sea wash over you in the fantastically titled Nice Riff, Clichard, before you become surprised to hear the inclusion of glitchy beats. They disrupt the chilled out atmosphere created by the waves and repeating clean lick of guitar and as such don’t work as well as on I’ll take the Minute Snake. Other unforeseen experiments include medieval moment Pygmy Polygamy, and 220.127.116.11.0 the aural equivalent of a fat ballerina emerging from a music box with and pirouetting.
TTNG manage to move forward without losing what makes them special on 18.104.22.168.0. They remain one of Britain’s most special undiscovered talents, astounding lesser guitarists up and down the country. Lets hope this record pushes them towards the wider recognition they deserve.
All words by Bruce Cousins. More writing by Bruce can be found in his author archive here.