Oxford college is renowned for its heritage as an esteemed place of learning, its ivy-matted halls, and its bands, apparently. Besides Radiohead, another band has emerged from the campus of Oxford into the indie music scene: This Town Needs Guns.
I discovered these fellows by accident while briefly glancing at purevolume.com one day. Different, technical, talented, and unique are all good adjectives that could describe This Town Needs Guns. The band has a vague Minus the Bear aura around them, yet, where the Bear pulls stops and sometimes grooves, This Town Needs Guns tends to flow consistently, rippling and skating beneath the vocals of Stuart Smith. Tim Collis plays the guitar with the precision of a machine, backed by the sharp and elusive guidance of the drums, played by his brother, Chris. Providing the muscle, and keeping the band against the earth so as to prevent them from soaring into the starry sky, is the agile bass, played by Dan Adams.
If you like Minus the Bear but also have a taste in music that can embellish a background such as your room or car, you will like This Town Needs Guns. Each song has its own twists and turns, while remaining true to the band’s sound. Smith’s meditative, and often pained lyrics provide an interesting layer to the music. It’s almost as if the Collis brothers and Adams wrote the music in one room, while Stuart composed his melodies and lyrics in another. At times there is a disconnect between the vocal lines and the guitars, but it is subtle, and even flavorful. Perhaps Smith’s vocals aren’t needed…but then, would This Town Needs Guns produce such beautiful songs as “Crocodile” or “If I Sit Still, Maybe I’ll Get Out of Here?” Doubtful.
Look up their debut album, “Animals.” Only $5.99 on iTunes, it also contains two bonus tracks, “26 Is Dancier than 4” and “If I Sit Still Maybe I’ll Make It Out Of Here.” It’s a good driving album, and also just good for easy listening.