This Town Needs Guns have faced their fair share of setbacks since the release of their debut album, ‘Animals’ over 3 years ago. Cutting numbers back from a foursome to a trio and replacing your vocalist is no easy task, particularly for a band whose signature vocals have made them a staple of the math rock community in the UK.
On ‘22.214.171.124.0’ This Town Needs Guns return to form with what they do best; creative time signatures, beautifully translucent vocals and drumming that’s so tight it’s hard to believe it’s made at the hands of a human. The development of the band over the last few years all comes down to this.
Emphasising Tim Collis’ unbelievable use of a guitar, in melodies so technically beautiful, ‘126.96.36.199.0’ takes on its own character, with an ambition to prove themselves once again as textural instrumentals such as In The Branches of Yggdrasil and Nice Riff Clichard will testify.
Opening this twelve track is Cat Fantastic, a track that’s so different yet familiar that you feel like you’re being reintroduced to an old friend. This familiarity only lasts so long, however, as the album delves into clearly new experimental areas, with TTNG losing their traditionally pop sensibilities and focusing on restructuring their sound, taking risks with highlights like I’ll Take the Minute Snake, a seminal track for the extent in which it changes things up half way through.
‘188.8.131.52.0’ demonstrates the kind of diversity we’ve come to expect from TTNG, particularly following ‘Animals’, on repeat listens tracks tend to blend into one another. Certain songs can only be played in the context of the whole album but the unorthodox manner in which they arrange their sound does not tend to sway the listener from continuing in the journey that ‘184.108.40.206.0’ becomes.
This journey, headed by Henry Tremain, replacing Stuart Smith at the microphone, is almost lacking in the wonderful quirks that made Smith’s sound so unique to the genre, but as a whole, Tremain makes the band’s latest effort his own; a nod to the fact that they are developing and growing with each release.
Some fans will find themselves pining for classic This Town Needs Guns, whilst many should look at this development and diversity as a good thing. A band evolving and growing whilst consistently sustaining their ability to be both technical and beautiful is reason alone to give this Oxford trio a chance if you haven’t before.