Album Review
This Town Needs Guns - Animals Album Cover

This Town Needs Guns - Animals

Reviewed by
This Town Needs GunsAnimals
Record Label: Big Scary Monsters Records
Release Date: October 13, 2008 (UK) / Late 2008 (US)
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Let’s get one thing straight: you bet your ass I’m hyping This Town Needs Guns. Not because cool people like them or because they’re paying me handsomely (hint hint!), but because these British wunderkinds play some of the most pleasurable, complex and somehow relaxing math rock this side of Chicago in the 90’s. As you may have guessed, the long song titles are long gone, only to be replaced by 13 different animals. This concept works wonderfully for two reasons: 1.) I don’t have to bring arthritis upon myself, and 2.) The animals truly represent another inventive, original song. Whether it’s the Minus The Bear guitars of “Gibbon” or the horn-laden, jazz-influenced “Elk,” each new track brings, erm, something new to the table. Animals is a record about stretching. TTNG pull themselves into some odd shapes, but they always bounce back to a familiar, taut form.

What This Town Needs Guns do best is easily debatable, but I’ll throw my hat in the ring and say it’s how the group creates a harmonious dichotomy. Yes, oxymorons are cliché in the reviewing game, but it still fits. Opener “Baboon” places Stuart Smith’s fragile vocals right on top of the zany noodling of guitarist Tim Collis. As Smith glides in and out of falsetto, Collis and bassist Dan Adams jolt around time signatures, creating what can only be described as an abstract sound; Cubism set to music. “Chinchilla” pulses forward with the bass drum of Chris Collis. His antsy, rousing drum fills make for the strongest of spines. Smith lets himself go here, and I think we can all relate: “My God / Is this what we’ve become? / Living parodies of love and loss / Can we really be all that lost?” Pretty emo, I agree, but these moments of self-doubt sound downright therapeutic once the backing chorus makes an appearance. You’ll never want the goosebumps to fade.

Animals is altogether a more refined and restrained effort. Gone is the fuzz inherent in some earlier tracks, and now the slower tunes are filled to the brim with drama. “Crocodile”, for instance, sounds nothing like its namesake, while faster songs like “Lemur” resemble lounge music for the hip and trendy – AKA me. The latter song’s back and forth between the bass and guitar could be packaged as a textbook for teaching younger bands how to feed off one another’s energy. “Panda” is the record’s most discordant tune, but even these moments resolve around the disaffected tenor of Smith (he laments, “Another twinkle in eyes / Caught between awkward glances / Of crowded social scenes / Another breeding ground for apathy). I won’t call him the voice of a generation because I have no idea if such a statement has any merit, but I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job speaking for yours truly.

I always seem to picture the band’s guitar parts as huge pencils that spit out elegant calligraphy. It’s beautiful but hard to take in at once. Animals needs a large chalkboard and plenty of chalk. You’ll be sure of your favorite track one day and question such a choice the next. Maybe today it’s the way Smith worries about using pills on “Pig”, but tomorrow the billowing strings of “Rabbit” might knock you down. Study Animals with the diligence it deserves and you’ll walk away with a knowledge you never expected.

Recommended If You Like: American Football, Ghosts and Vodka w/ lyrics, awe or something like it, Cats and Cats and Cats, Georges Braque

I came here to murder youwww.myspace.com/thistownneedsguns
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 32
02:57 PM on 10/03/08
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WhoSaidThat?'s Avatar
Even though I'm more of a Dogs and Dogs and Dogs person (person person), I'll happily take this album out for a test drive. Great review, Blake.
03:19 PM on 10/03/08
makin' good time
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Ryzenfall's Avatar
Good review! This is good stuff, but i might take a while to get into it.
Enjoy your rabbit.
03:30 PM on 10/03/08
Blake Solomon
every outcome's such a comedown
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
Even though I'm more of a Dogs and Dogs and Dogs person (person person), I'll happily take this album out for a test drive. Great review, Blake.

Very clever hahaha
03:37 PM on 10/03/08
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WhoSaidThat?'s Avatar
Haha, yeah... test drive.
06:42 PM on 10/03/08
Scott Irvine
Your Virtual Pnin
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Scott Irvine's Avatar
Goddammit, I was gonna review this album. Very aptly put though, Blake.

This band is essentially an equal parts mix of Owls and Look Mexico.
08:33 PM on 10/03/08
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aradiantsunrise's Avatar
This is a great album.
09:10 PM on 10/03/08
our names are x and n
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airik625's Avatar
I think vocals should have got a higher score, but other than that, very well written review.
11:15 PM on 10/03/08
we were born for battle
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EndSerenading's Avatar
Im really digging this stuff on their myspace. Ill have to check out the whole album; its rare that I really dig any newer bands sound right away!
09:41 AM on 10/04/08
The Protagonist of Loneliness
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billyboatkid's Avatar
Love this band.
11:03 PM on 10/04/08
Sic Transit Zeb
Registered User
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Sic Transit Zeb's Avatar
just got this, pretty pumped to listen to it from your review
04:10 AM on 10/05/08
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TheBaroness's Avatar
great review. I really love this band/album. Can't wait to get my hands on the lyrics.
07:42 AM on 10/05/08
Registered User
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Jlee@thedisco's Avatar
i would definitely say that you could compared this band to maps & atlases/ look mexico/ minus the bear in guitar parts, but the vocalist kind of sounds like anthony green
08:39 AM on 10/05/08
The desperation's gone.
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lew_1987's Avatar
I can see this band becoming the elitist's wet dream. I like them though.
09:28 AM on 10/05/08
billionsandbillions / Chris
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oldwirehands's Avatar
boner worthy. love it.

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