This Town Needs Guns – This Town Needs Guns
Record Label: Big Scary Monsters / Yellow Ghost Records
Release Date: April 2008
Effortless is a word that comes up in music reviews quite a bit. Usually its usage is incorrect and quite ironic. To say musicians don’t spend countless hours tweaking the tiniest little things – tambourine tempos, lyrical nuances, oddball t-shirt designs – is unfair and really quite rude. Songs don’t appear out of thin air; song ideas do. There’s no doubt in my mind This Town Needs Guns ruminated for hours and hours, creating every angular guitar riff and swift-footed time signature through sheer force of will. But if I was being naïve and, possibly, listening for the first time, I’d tell you these British dudes have some mad improv skills. Each song naturally finds its way into a room already inhabited by bands like American Football and demands floor space with rumbling guitars and especially insightful lyrics. This Town Needs Guns might be far from effortless, but boy if it ain’t a graceful lil’ bastard.
Most songs on this self-titled mini album have been floating around in various places for quite some time. Last year’s split with labelmates Cats and Cats and Cats found This Town Needs Guns stealing the show, but just barely. All four of those songs appear here, including the zig-zagging guitars of “26 Is Dancier Than 4” and the arresting spoken word breakdown of “It’s Not True Rufus, Don’t Listen To The Hat.” Stuart Smith’s vocals are exceedingly smooth in "Rufus" as he sings, “Have some faith / Don’t you know that this is not a race / And we are not contenders now” over fanciful guitar riffing. It’s these crisp moments of serene melody that make the tougher sounds shine brightest.
“Japanese Ultra-Violence in D-Minor (The Saddest Chord)” – yes, the song titles are terrible – is an exclusive on the Aussie version of This Town Needs Guns. The track yearns quietly with rising violin strums and intricate acoustic guitar picking. Wonderfully new territory is forged for the band, and you won’t miss Chris Collis’ tricky drumming one bit. Smith hits a falsetto with ease and everything culminates into quite the engaging love song. “I’ll Forget About You Throwing That Rock Cos That Dance Was Pretty Funny” – yes, the song titles are stupid – also takes a subdued route with more lessons in acoustic guitar mastery. Trumpets waver majestically in the background, while airy backing vocals make the track flow right into its intended destination: a mystical forest complete with gnomes and endless pints.
This Town Needs Guns accomplish goals galore here, and although most longtime fans have heard these tracks, it’s nice to have them all conveniently together. I look forward to having disc upon disc of their complicated-yet-simple math rock (listen to “And I’ll Tell You For Why” for the best example of this sound) filling up my collection for years to come. Getting your hands on this (if you're from America) might be a bit of work and a tad bit pricey, but it'll be worth it. (Trust me! - Blake) Music rarely sounds this accessible while also begging to be carefully dissected. You'll only find more beautiful quirkiness.
Recommended If You Like: American Football, Cats and Cats and Cats, a certain Chuck Klosterman tangent about a certain band from Oxford, Secondsmile, gluttony
blake, you are the reason i still read record reviews. if it's a band i don't know about, i can expect it to be spot on based on your taste and other reviews. such is the case here. excellent band that is now a favorite of mine, thanks to you. keep up the incredible work brother.