Musical Mathematics (Leeds UK) Album Review: This Town Needs Guns 18.104.22.168.0
Label: Sargent House
Release date: January 22, 2013
Progressing from their staple four-piece line up to a tight-knit trio, with Ex-Pennines front man Henry Tremain picking up where long-running vocalist Stewart Smith left off, This Town Needs Guns haven’t been without their share of setbacks. But with the announcement of a brand new record titled 22.214.171.124.0, the band – now currently consisting of Tremain alongside Tim & Chris Collis – are back, producing some of their most astounding music to date.
Kicking off this twelve track, ‘Cat Fantastic’ works as a delightfully apt opener; restoring and familiarizing the listener with the band’s differences and similarities from past recordings. The intricacies of masterful guitar, the impeccable groove-filled rhythm, the essential slick bass, it’s all here, like nothing has changed, yet with the addition of Tremain – both vocally and physically – This Town’s outlook feels different, sounds familiar, acting as a different entity.
Following the up beat, truly positive tones of ‘Cat Fantastic’, the band jump straight into familiar territory; never being afraid of their ability to create and precisely hone emotive tones which delve further into powerfully crafted minor-key progressions. Tracks like heavy-hitters ‘Havoc in the Forum’, and the beautifully crafted ‘Left Aligned’, not only secure This Town Needs Guns as masters of desolate-themed pop and flawless technical turns, but they introduce the listener to the band’s new vocalist. Tremain is a delight; his control both in tone and passion is outstanding, matched only by his seamless and exact transitions from modal vocal to falsetto. With the brilliance of his vocal melody and balance alongside the other instruments, Tremain’s lyricism and singing find deep roots within the album, most notable in the often choral ‘I’ll Take the Minute Snake’, or in the minimal yet striking lines of the acoustical ‘2 Birds, 1 Stone And An Empty Stomach’.
Aside from the inclusion of shorter ‘idea’ based tracks – which will only work within the context of the album as a whole – songs like ‘Pygmy Polygamy’, and the finishing ‘126.96.36.199.1’, sound good. And although they might not appeal to the modern playlist ridden generation, they do encourage experiencing the album as a whole, which just leaves ‘Nice Riff, Clichard’, but the less said about that, the better.
188.8.131.52.0 is a technical, instrumental delight that is often so impressive it’s hard to grasp songs as complete musical pieces, more as individual feats of wonder and musicianship, with the album’s standout ‘+3 Awesomeness Repels Water’, stealing the show and planting smiles everywhere it’s played. Guitar-lines from Tim Collis are as imaginative as ever, pushing the boundaries of guitar work whilst still emitting alluring awe with a capable ease that shapes the album’s progression and overall tone. Separately, Chris Collis’ drum backing works as the driving force of the record, a stylistic metronome that keeps crosscutting time signatures in check with complete power. The production on the album is also lovely, its clean tone and mix balance only compliments the band’s sound; every nuance, twitch, tap and beat is perfectly clear and audible at all times, a sound which This Town Needs Guns completely deserve.
Overall, through its twists and turns of wonderment, bliss, musical focus and methodological mastery, 184.108.40.206.0 is a sublime record from This Town Needs Guns. A record that not only brings the re-shaped trio back into the audience’s sub-conscious, but also, a record that re-defines the term, “good music”.