When you call your second album 18.104.22.168.0, you’re kind of asking your music to be labelled ‘math rock’, but four years on, the follow-up from this Oxford trio has as much in common with prog as jerky-quirky alt rock trad. With their name now abbreviated from This Town Needs Guns, TTNG’s sound seems to have intensified accordingly.
The distinct whiff of Pavement’s Ivy League angularity is still all over tracks such as Coconut Crab and Destroy The Tabernacle!, but there’s a strong melodic character to Tim Collis’ spidery guitar lines, while Henry Tremain’s plaintive vocal adds a sense of disorientation that somehow suits the dizzy instrumental patterns perfectly.
‘Terrify your lies right out of the zeitgeist’ they suggest on the intriguingly titled There’s No ‘I’ In Time – the kind of line that suggests they’re in distinct danger of being too clever for their own good. But while newcomers might struggle to find substantial strands of melodies to pull them into this densely complex sound, the juddering, 13-legged rhythms and breathlessly tangled hooks hide some insistent, resonant tunes, and fans of more instrumentally challenging end of post-punk will surely the puzzle opening up enticingly before them.