I was listening to the WTF podcast with Marc Maron the other day, and his guest was Patrick Stickles, lead singer and songwriter of Titus Andronicus. I have all of their albums on my iPod and have enjoyed some of their songs, whilst not necessarily given the whole album a proper listen. Stickles struck me as a fairly interesting and intelligent guy, so I thought it was time to give all three of his bands albums the once over.
Titus Andronicus are, for the most part a punk rock band with elements of The Replacements and Bruce Springsteen among others. They hail from New Jersey and were formed in 2005, named after the Shakespeare play. Incredibly they have already had 18 members of the band since that time.
The Airing of Grievances (2008)
Key track: My Time Outside The Womb
Titus Andronicus’ debut is a solid enough debut album, albeit one with a few rough edges that were ironed out on subsequent releases. The vocals and lyrics owe a huge debt to Conor Oberst, whilst the music references The Clash among other bands. There are some really exciting moments on the debut album, the first three tracks in particular are a great start, as well as the band-titled track mid-way through. Some of the other tracks are either too distorted and noisy for my ears, or a bit plodding. A promising start though.
The Monitor (2010)
Key track: A More Perfect Union
The bands second album is their masterpiece so far. A concept album loosely based on the American Civil War, it is dotted with spoken word quotes from Abraham Lincoln among others. It is again, a mix of fist thumping Bruce Springsteen rock, with the same Bright Eyes, Clash and Replacements comparisons. The songs vary in length and tempo, from the really short “Titus Andronicus Forever” and “…And Ever”. Both of these songs, upon listening, immediately make want to be in a band. They are full of energy and attitude and their “the enemy is every where” lyric is brilliant to sing a long to. Then you have “A More Perfect Union” with it’s Springsteen aping lyric “tramps like us, baby we were born to lose” and another gem in “Richard II”. This band is going places!
Local Business (2012)
Key track: My Eating Disorder
Titus Andronicus’ most recent album, released in 2012, is less ambitious than The Monitor, but that is no bad thing, as they get back to basics on another set of great punk rock songs. They dabble around with some different instruments such as harmonica and piano on this album, and that serves the songs well. Most of the songs here, despite their weighty subject matter, are pretty fun to listen to.