TTNG - Animals (as This Town Needs Guns) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Animals (as This Town Needs Guns) (2009)

Sargent House

Sargent House seem to be cornering the market on math rock, but This Town Needs Guns is one of their finest finds yet. Picking up the U.S. release for the UK band's debut full-length, Animals, this is just the type of delicate and emotional, intricately woven songs that all of us hailing Look Mexico for can get fully behind.

Usually when using the term "pleasant," all one can think of is dreamy songs with a fairly alluring mood, but failing to rise too far above that. Animals tends to break that mold, with songs that are certainly pleasant on the surface, but so complex and subtly dynamic throughout that they require attention and observation to reward the listener in the process.

Frontman Stuart Smith, with only vocals as his duty, is also utilized much more as a singer than American Football would employ Mike Kinsella, or how often Matt Agrella sang on This Is Animal Music. He adds a new level of emotion to the proceedings while consistently refraining from getting too earnest or overbearing.

This release also shuffles the track listing of the UK release a bit (as well as adding two pretty great bonus tracks of older material), meaning the emphasized lines of the unwinding "Gibbon" make an earlier impact as Smith strains, "Once more in to breaches I cannot gap. / One more chance to second guess your thoughts. / My friends said that you would be a tough nut to crack. / Come back, let's settle this up�?�" These personal, effectual lyrics are a highlight if you're sure to follow along with Smith's thoughts and feelings.

There's been plenty of comparisons to fellow Oxford finger-tappers Foals, but it's sort of misleading. Foals are entirely more energetic and dancier, whereas TTNG seem content to linger and float for much of Animals.

Animals certainly isn't perfect. All the songs seem to operate in the same exact style of shifting, time signature-fucked tempos, and consequently, the pacing is practically glacial. You tend to wait for the "wow" moment that rarely jumps out.

Nonetheless, Animals is a rather solid and linear debut, and one should largely find nothing but satisfaction in these tricky, twisting and turning tracks.

If I Sit Still, Maybe I'll Get Out of Here [bonus track]
26 Is Dancier Than 4 [bonus track]