Bands putting out an album after a few years is like meeting an old friend: they’ve changed, but you still recognize them. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes not so much. This Town Needs Guns added a member and is now known as TTNG. And thankfully it’s not a let-down at all, despite being called Disappointment Island. The music is wonderfully upbeat, with complex time signature-changes drawing you in to listen closely.
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Math rockers can sigh too. I don’t remember exactly the point at which fiddly guitar theatrics became submerged with the wide-eyed super-caring of emo (n.b. it was a long time ago), but as someone who feels more than he calculates, I’m all for it. TTNG, now abbreviated from the once elongated This Town Needs Guns, make music that gets showy and sinewy in the riffage department -- but concurrently with lots of cooing and howling. ‘Disappointment Island’ is as energetic as it is dejected.
A track like “A Chase of Sorts” has enough hyper-rhythmic movement to make you believe in the TTNG of old, but there are plenty of super sweet moments, too. “Controlling Ghosts” is, for all intents and purposes, a math ballad, with cosy verses spent minus drums and plus super cosy fret-slides -- as if uncomfortable with its lack of noodle, it employs gorgeously sprawling choruses with the same sobriety, albeit packaged with lotsa fills and lightning fast guitar figures.
I don’t know whether to dance or lie in bed with the curtains drawn. “Whatever, Whenever” is a super thumb-twiddling sad song that sounds almost caught adrift in the beautiful abstractions of Adult Jazz’s first record -- it moves fast and occasional stumbles, but its sound is minor and lonely. The lyric “I’ve been losing the taste for living” finds itself coasting into a looping guitar line and a splintering drumbeat -- as if the best way to deal with it all is to trawl into a maze.
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- Disappointment Island by TTNG
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