Published Jul 06, 2016In the last few years, Oxford, UK act TTNG have trimmed their members from four to three and their name from an ironic but distasteful This Town Needs Guns to these less unfortunate initials. Thankfully, their first album as a triad keeps to the same math rock path that first made them a prog rock favourite.
The longest track, "Whatever, Whenever," showcases the best of TTNG: dextrous and experimental strings, sparing reverb and Henry Tremain's falsetto, matched to complex guitar picking that's at once impenetrable and calming. They keep to the formula, with pleasing results. "Consoling Ghosts" is a parade of vibrato guitar atop a rollicking beat that drummer Chris Collis lays into with galvanizing, pulling pace. His guitarist brother Tim is as much of a presence on Disappointment Island as Tremain's voice. Although the lyrics are often sad, the theme is still sardonic. "Bliss Quest," for instance, ends with what sounds like a busy signal, and most songs feel playful despite sorrowful lyrics.
In the past, TTNG have released tabs of their LPs for interested fans, both for Animals in 2009 and 188.8.131.52.0 in 2013. Despite the changes, many things remain the same, and fans can look forward to a solid third instalment. Hopefully, they'll be plucking along to these excellent tracks with music sheets in no time. (Sargent House)