With lots of lineup changes and even a change in name (kinda, going from This Town Needs Guns to TTNG), consistency is not what the math rock (now) power trio from Oxford would be known for. With a melodic and percussive sound underscored by lamenting (dare I say emo?) vocals, the one thing TTNG proves on their latest release 22.214.171.124.0 is they can consistently deliver solid tunes.
There were concerns that the move from a quartet to a trio with the main vocalist leaving might lead to a drastic change. As the one remaining original member, Tim Collis, is still the driving force behind the writing, the sound of the band itself still contains the expected percussive tap-on sound. The drums on this album seem a bit more pedestrian and reigned-in compared to earlier drummers on earlier albums. Whether this was a production choice or an individual style is unclear but the frenetic, raw emotion seen on Animals is noticeably missing. The vocals are a bit less persistent on this album and leave a bit of a filling in the blanks feeling compared to the urgency of earlier vocalists.
Stand out tunes on this album are without doubt "Cat Fantastic", which leads off the album with a transition from the previous album seemingly. The quietness of "Nice Riff, Clichard" brings a solemn note into the mix and it's a good mid-album resting point, though and "Triptych" is a call back to previous work from TTNG.
When all is said and done, 126.96.36.199.0 is good follow-up for a long awaited band that some thought we might not hear from. The important word here is good not great.
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