Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Monitor Review

Titus Andronicus is a tidal wave. Each twang of the guitar and shout from Patrick Stickle's throat is another element that composes the enormous swell of emotion that is their sophomore album, The Monitor. If ever there were an album to encompass every bit of rage and confusion that comes with life, it would be what this band has created. They challenge the boundaries of lyrical sanity and musical limits with each twist and turn throughout the hour-length record, paying no mind to the standards set upon recent punk. And for them they have a repertoire of instrumentation from bagpipes to trombones to cellos; all utilized to spark that nostalgic war-time anarchism that you read about in high school. The good ol' boys that spent their days shouting about liberty while spewing their guts into the nearest gutter. Except they've honed that nausea into words, and they're spewing that passionate and unstoppable presence of anger and fear unto us. We are the audience, and Titus Andronicus is the marching band of hope.

It is apparent from the moment Stickle bursts onto the record on "A More Perfect Union" that he is both unhappy and undoubtedly inebriated. The pure energy that he supplies to his music is completely unchallenged in today's punk scene. With his throat spouting lyrical steam and the band boiling the pot, it creates that lump in your throat that inspires you to shout along with them. From the invigorating screams of "You'll always be a loser!" on "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future" to the several derailed shrieks throughout the remainder of the record, you are hooked to this band and what they have to say. You feel Stickle's rising and falling from inebriated cries of freedom and justice to his hung-over fear of what comes for him in the future. It's this combination of energy and emotion that makes them one of the most unique and inspiring groups prominent in today's music scene. By the conclusion of the record, you've been on a journey with Stickle that remains embedded in your mind until you hear the words of Abraham Lincoln on "A More Perfect Union" reanimated once again.

However, the entirety of The Monitor, relies on each miniscule element that composes it - the powerful support of the group, the intensely personal and introversive lyricism, and of course Patrick Stickle's infectious vocal work. They all rise to ultimate fruition on "The Battle of Hampton Roads" which encapsulates everything that is incredible about Titus Andronicus. Containing perhaps the most exciting and tense crescendo of the record (where there are several), the song takes everything that drove the record and hammers it into a final grandiose fourteen-minute closure. Stickle's growl of "And so now when I drink, I'm going to drink to excess." and the proceeding lines grips you by the neck and captivates that rebellious spark in your brain that you never quite knew you had. This album can make you the most confident man on the planet, and it can make you terrified of waking up in the morning in fear of finding more people like Patrick Stickle. It took the guts of a madman to make something so raw and risky in today's music, but Titus Andronicus did it, and did it exceptionally.

Is there a boy in this town that's not exploding with hate?

1 comment:

Dyaitsidyam∂ said...

nice review, adding it to my to do list!