What It Sounds Like: Indie-punk played at mid-tempo with nods to Bruce Springsteen and the rest of the Blue Collar workforce.
Rolling Stone magazine is quoted as saying the following about Titus Andronicus: “These Jersey boys might be America’s most desperately ambitious, righteously exciting punk-rock flamethrowers.”
I’m not trying to be cutting edge; going against what may be popular or whatnot. But honestly Rolling Stone, are we even listening to the same band? Exciting? Dude, if this band is a punk-rock flameflower, then the freaking pop-punk antics of Blink-182 must sound to Rolling Stone like the the explosion of an asteroid plowing its way into the sun and blowing it to smithereens. These boys may hail from New Jersey and worship The Boss, but they lack any of the drive that Springsteen has. Don’t include them in the same sentence.
It’s sad, because 2008’s The Airing Of Grievances showed promise. It was messier than this 2012 outing, but that kind of added to the appeal. It wasn’t color-by-numbers. Plus, the record title was talking about Festivus! If you’re making Seinfeld references in your band, I’m certainly giving you a shot. I was glad that I did. Was glad, being the key phrase here. I don’t have their 2010 release, but when I saw this new one, I thought, “Hey, it’s been four years. Let’s see how they’ve turned out!”
Local Business is boring. It switches between large, expansive eight-minute indie-punkers like My Eating Disorder and concise, one-minute bursts like Food Fight!, which simply screams two certain words over and over (I’ll let you guess what they are). At least it’s upbeat! If more songs on the record rocked out that that one, maybe we’d have a shot! But no, no, no. This thing has punk elements to it. You know the first rule about punk, right? Keep it…mid-tempo. No. Incorrect. What were these guys thinking? They may kick it up for their live performances, so I wouldn’t mind seeing them as an opener, but on the record – any sense of energy is virtually non-existent.
Right off the bat we get Ecce Homo and Still Life With Hot Deuce On Silver Platter, which are not only terrible song titles in their own right, but they sound exactly the same! I was halfway into Still Life before I realized that a new song had started. Plus, they’re each five minutes long, and they simply sound like guitar, bass, and drums playing the same pattern over and over! The overused Sweet Brown parody of Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That may be a super tired expression, but come on Titus Andronicus…
Ain’t NOBODY got TIME for THAT!
Oh, you can find some catchy instances here and there – you have to work overtime to make sure your record doesn’t have a single catchy riff – but the few moments of promise can’t shine a light to an overall dull record. To add insult to injury, lead single In A Big City is honestly probably the worst thing on here. It’s slow. It repeats. Honestly, if anybody finds some appeal in this song, please explain it to me, because I’m at a loss.
There may be nothing more damning then the almost ten-minute finale of Tried To Quit Smoking. Believe me, you won’t want to quit smoking. You’re gonna want to grab the closest pack of Newports you can get your hands on and chain-smoke the dickens out of ’em so hopefully the good Lord takes you before you have to try to make it to the end of this terrible song.
At least the record’s over now. Back to the shelf to collect dust.
If you had to listen to two tracks: In A Small Body / My Eating Disorder