Sound — 7
The most striking feature of This Town Needs Guns is the clear Kinsella influences on this album, which is why it is surprising to hear that they come from Oxford, rather than Illinois. Tim Collis' virtuoso mastery of the guitar would be more than worthy of any Owls or American Football record. What separates This Town Needs Guns from such artists is that the guitar is not the main attraction. Tim's brother Chris shows equal proficiency on the drums (as can be heard on his last band's record, Knives). The addition of glockenspiel adds to the diversity of the bands sound, seen most effectively in Badger. This record does however seem to lack a stand out track, like 26 is Dancier Than Four. All the tracks are accomplished and to a high standard, but do not lend themselves to sing-a-longs or tracks for mix tapes.
Lyrics — 6
This record offers nothing new in the form of lyrics. There are no strikingly poignant stanzas that stick with you after listening to the record. Stuart Smith is a very able vocalist, very reminiscent of Mike Kinsella, whose singing is often melodious and pleasant, showcased in the records key song, Panda. Owen would offer much more insightful lyrics on the same topics. Neither the guitar playing, nor the bass playing tend to be lyrical, but do show intricate use of the limited three-piece band. Unlike the first few This Town Needs Guns records, Stuart Smith does not play rhythm guitar and Tim manages to fill the gaps that other guitarists may struggle to do.
Overall Impression — 7
This album certainly has a lot in it, varying from solo guitar break downs to full jazz-beat freak-out sections. It was recorded over a period of four weekends in March 2009, which exemplifies the work put into the record. Herein lies a criticism of the band's sound, it often sounds as if too much is going on. The jazz-style drums clash with the neo-folk guitar, leaving the listener often barraged by strings of notes. The sound is very promising, but perhaps less would have been more.