This Town Needs Guns -

The tracks are less punchy than before and perhaps more subdued.

Sadly, a change in band lineup is always going to be at the centre of a review of This Town Needs Guns’ second album, especially as the dearly departed is the lead singer. And even more so as the vocals were one of the standout features of a much-celebrated debut album. So Stuart Smith left to spend time with his family. Yeah, deal with it. Enter Henry Tremain. Oh, and bassist Jamie Cooper left too. It was a revolution – not of the town-needing-guns type, I hope.

Inevitably, Tremain’s voice is different from Smiths – but it still offers the similar qualities of emotional strength, range of versatility and delicacy. There are also the same idiosyncratic nuances of vocal texture and lyrical passion which made debut ‘Animals’ a classic. Likewise, the guitars offer the complex, erratic-yet-beautiful math rock layers we’ve heard before – but perhaps in a mature manner – and invention remains in the form plenty of short instrumentals, musical play and clever time signatures.

The tracks are less punchy than before and perhaps more subdued, though this is the sort of music that needs to be immersed in and often takes time to truly appreciate. This is not about catchy hooks and memorable vocals, but more a labour of love with a reward far off in the distance. The marked originality of ‘Animals’ has dissipated and in its place there is a settled approach of what could be described as math pop.

Tags: This Town Needs Guns, Reviews, Album Reviews

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