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Album Review: Disappointment Island by TTNG

Oxford math rock band TTNG release their third album Disappointment Island on 8th via Sargent House. It’s the latest album from the band (formerly known as This Town Needs Guns) that sees a shift in personnel and sound. Their 2008 debut Animals was immediate and infectious only to see the band disintegrate with only guitarist Tim Collis remaining for 2013’s 13.0.0.0.0 which excelled in technical proficiency. Disappointment Island is the first album to feature the band as a trio after former bassist Jamie Cooper left in 2011 and sees the band combining the intricacies and hooks from their previous two releases.

This is without doubt TTNG’s finest work to date, albeit a bit a slow burner. Like its predecessor this is a grower, this time though you grow to love it unconditionally. It grows into itself, engraining itself as something special and thrilling. With each listen you’ll hear something new and find a little nuance that makes you love it even more. As with most true math rock albums you have to actually listen to fully appreciate it, Disappointment Island isn’t for the casual listener. Give it you full attention, let it me the great album it is.

The complexity at the heart of TTNG’s sound can’t be over stated, they manage to take math intricacies to the next level without getting lost in a sea of riffs and time signatures. The detail is complemented perfectly by the hooks and by how Henry Tremain has grown into his position as vocalist. The fact that Disappointment Island was recorded live to tape (over two sessions in 2013 and 2015) makes it even more impressive. The trio had to be on their game first take and the pressure has made them excel.

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You won’t find a weak song here, everything is straight out of the top drawer. Such are the nuances you could be forgiven for having a new favourite on every listen. Whether it be the complexities of ‘Consoling Ghosts’, the immediate punch of ‘Whatever, Whenever’ or the beauty of ‘Bliss Quest’ you can’t help but fall in love with the album. At first you could be forgiven for thinking tracks like ‘In Praise Of Idleness’ were a little pedestrian, then on second proper listen it blossoms into the expansive math rock beast it is.

There’s a certain pop swagger lurking under the surface of ‘Coconut Crab’ while post hardcore emotion and energy simmers behind the wonderful ‘Destroy The Tabernacle!’. Lead track ‘Sponkulus Nodge’ is you go to point for a succinct pointer to how TTNG’s sound has developed. Special praise must be reserved for the disarming ‘There’s No ‘I’ In Team’ that may just have announced itself as the striking song of 2016. It is one of those rare moments that leave you speechless, question if a song can really be that good.

TTNG have delivered the album they were always capable of. They’ve set themselves out from their contemporaries here, this is the essential math rock album of 2016. Get all over it.

AD Rating 9.5/10

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1 Comment on Album Review: Disappointment Island by TTNG

  1. Correction: Both Tim and Chris Collis remained in the band after Animals.

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