Newly renamed, these math rockers play anything but by the numbers
Posted: February 6, 2013
The disarmament plan of the group, made up of Henry Tremain and brothers Chris and Tim Collis, has not extended to their music, which remains disarming.
With all the sad news to come out of the United States relating to guns, well, since forever, and the further depressing news relating to gun control there, it is quite touching to hear that a band from Oxford, England, has made a totally unnecessary but completely sweet and sincere gesture. The math-rock band This Town Needs Guns has announced that "from this point on, we will simply be known as TTNG."
Someone hasn't told the booker at Klub 007 Strahov, where the renamed TTNG will be playing Sunday, Feb. 10, with the one-man act of Brooklyn-based former Joan of Arc multi-instrumentalist Nate Kinsella. There, the band's name is still in its old form, and it is indeed somewhat jarring to read on the program, though that's just recent context messing with what for a long time sounded pretty cool.
"This Town Needs Guns was simply a name chosen by a group of friends who wanted to make music together," reads the band's official statement on its website. "At the time, this name was not considered particularly offensive and indeed was an ironic statement given the setting of such a historical and cultural city as Oxford."
And so we should go into that music: It's jangly, and it's twangy, and it's fun, and there's melody, and it's poppy, but it's also really, really tight. The founding brothers Tim and Chris Collis, respectively on guitar and drums, and Henry Tremain, who joined last year as bassist and guitarist and initial name-initializer, play a prog that is smart and sustained and gives you few pauses as the songs go onward.
When: Sunday, Feb. 10, at 7:30
Where: Klub 007 Strahov
Tickets: 250 Kč
Back to that name change, suggested by Tremain, a pacifist who felt that out of context the band's association with the G-word could be taken way too wrongly. (The group had reports of fans harassed for their T-shirts recently.) "Context plays a big part in the way a band name such as This Town Needs Guns may be perceived," the band posted on the website. "In the UK, guns are not present. Ordinarily, our police force do not even carry guns. Within this context, an idea such as a town needing guns seems too absurd to be taken seriously."
Of course, the band didn't form at a particularly peaceful time: England itself was backing two U.S.-led wars. Perhaps it's more a sign of the group's own maturing - no longer uni kids looking for a laugh with a provocative name and now fully confident in letting the music speak for itself, which it does well.
"Eight years on, things have changed," the band wrote in the statement. "With our music now finding new cultures, the irony of the name is no longer implicit. Also, in light of the controversy over gun ownership in the United States as well as tragic shootings there and elsewhere in the world, we want to distance ourselves from a band name which we are now uncomfortable with."
That type of maturity should be rewarded with a trip up the hill on Sunday. This kind of music will be reward enough by itself.
Milan Gagnon can be reached at