Despite the vast number of changes in line-up since their formation just over twelve years ago, TTNG have been a steady trio for the past five years. This comes across in what is over all, a solid and consistent third album from the math-rock Brits. Even the title, Disappointment Island could suggest a bout of confidence for them, as had they failed to produce a somewhat decent listen the title itself would provide an ideal base for thoughtless, crummy criticism. Instead, they have succeeded in compiling a reliable set of ten tracks that hold true to the sound that TTNG (or This Town Needs Guns as they were known back then) established on their first record, Animals.
A melancholic undertone resides in the album’s roots. It is evident from the opening track and then proceeds to resurface throughout large portions of the album. The third track ‘Consoling Ghosts’ features a strong example of this whereas ‘A Chase of Sorts’, an early gem, serves as a refreshing taster of the upbeat and poppy energy the band provides through the meticulously composed guitar riffs and drum patterns. Both Collis brothers, Tim and Chris display undeniable ease performing together, while the latest addition Henry Tremain (a member since 2011 and lead vocalist as well as gutarist on their second album, 22.214.171.124.0.0) gels sweetly with the bands tight, clean sound and adds a wonderful dynamic to the group with his well- suited vocal range as well as intelligent and thoughtful lyrics.
Despite indisputable affection and skill for the sound the group have diligently established for themselves, the album still leaves much to be desired. For example, tracks such as ‘There’s no ‘I’ in Time’ provide a gateway for the group to explode into crashing symbols and emotive guitar riffs, introducing a much larger sound, but instead the track remains well calculated and constant in true TTNG fashion. ‘Destroy the Tabernacle’ even more so threatens to take the album into a dark, ominous direction with the bass serving as a driving force of relentless energy for large sections of the track. However, despite the subtle suggestions, the track also appears too reluctant to let loose entirely despite extremely promising and progressive riffs.
Overall TTNG have created an intelligent listen which is perhaps a little cautious in parts and this unfortunately, prevents the band from exploring exciting new waters. Technically brilliant, the band’s reluctance to depart from what they have succeeded in perfecting in the past leaves them in a dangerously comfortable position. If so desired, the band appear more than capable of producing a larger, more explosive and evidently diverse sound that they could undoubtedly execute with precision and confidence. Nonetheless, they have produced another thoroughly satisfactory and enjoyable listen and proven once again what a valuable asset they are to the notable Sargent House label. One must hope that with each release, they toe ever closer to capturing an exciting new sound that appears to be just beyond the horizon. James Holohan