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This Town Needs Guns - (Album Review)

Friday, 11 January 2013 Written by Jonny Rimmer
This Town Needs Guns - (Album Review)

Their vocalist might have changed, but This Town Needs Guns remain one of the most unique math rock acts to emerge in this country. On '', the band consolidate their reputation by each doing what they do best: twinkly guitar lines, creative time signatures, heartfelt vocals with a 90s emo tint and some ridiculously precise drum parts. With that said, the gradual modifications that the band (now a three-piece) have made since their stunning self titled EP, are very pronounced.

ImageLike 'Animals', their debut, piano is again largely absent with the melodic emphasis on Tim Collis' outrageous guitar melodies. Whilst such features gave previous releases character, '' is its own beast. Never have the band sounded so ambitious, as textural instrumentals such as 'In The Branches of Yggdrasil' and 'Nice Riff Clichard' (yes, they still have terrible song titles) will testify. Early frustrations that This Town Needs Guns have lost some of their pop sensibility subside when you realise how much the band have developed the structural side to their music. They take risks here, 'I'll Take the Minute Snake' is an unbelievable highlight, taking a left turn half-way through and warping a simple guitar phrase into one of the most meditative moments of their career.

And what of the new boy? Henry Tremain admittedly lacks the wonderfully zealous, and almost childlike quirks that Stuart Smith boasted, but he's arguably a better fit for the direction the band have gone on. On '2 Birds, 1 Stone And An Empty Stomach', his seemingly reticent vocals work perfectly alongside the picked acoustic melodies, conveying much more through a whisper than Smith would with a wail. The only major loss appears to be the tangible lyrical emphasis that Smith gave to the band's music; after all, when it comes to Morrissey-esque introversions, '26 is Dancier Than 4' is a classic.

Whilst this album demonstrates a more diverse approach than 'Animals' did, it does suffer from some of the same pitfalls. Even on repeated listens, some of these tracks blend into one, rendering Collis' masterful playing more redundant than it deserves to be. However, whilst songs like 'Triptych' sail past without emotional provocation, there's always a more multifarious track like 'A Different Kind of Tall (Small)' that shows how much the group have developed in their song-writing.

Though this is probably their least accessible release, This Town Needs Guns have again managed to record a record of depth with huge replay value. Very few bands have the ability to be both technical and beautiful, and to do so on a consistent level. For that reason alone, this Oxford trio are worth your time.

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