Thursday, December 20, 2012

Album Review: Titus Andronicus- Local Business

Titus Andronicus
Local Business
*** out of *****

Coming out of the gate the verbose New Jersey Pub/Punk/Rock band sounds exhilarating, as if they are still flying high off of 2010's fantastic release The Monitor, unfortunately the band can't keep up the energy or goodwill throughout the 10 tracks of Local Business.

The pluses on this disk smack you in the face from the first notes. The new lineup (Guitarist Amy Klein and bassist Ian Graetzer have left the band) explodes with a 3 song segueing suite of pitch perfect power punk influenced by your local watering holes dead dreams and cheap drinks.   

The trio of "Ecce Homo", "Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter" and "Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus" are close to perfect, screaming about the insanity that is life over crashes (pyhsical and mental) and verbose offerings from main Andronici Patrick Stickles.

"Ecce Homo" (the title alone makes us love this band, Pontius Pilot anyone?) attacks the randomness and insanity that is day to day existence while "Still Life..." flashes transformative piano runs and strutting riffs.  "Upon Viewing..." is a jangling 50's car crash anthem injected with punk energy that updates it to modern times closing out the triumphant opening trio.

After the brief instrumental surf rock of the palette cleansing "Food Fight" the B side to this album begins to show some flaws. "Eating Disorder" is a rocking 3 minute tune that is stretched out well beyond its breaking point finishing at over 8 minutes.  The metallic breakdown midway through and the repeated shouting simply doesn't add anything and after the fantastic album intro the disk begins to stall.

The single "In A Big City" tries to kick start things with massive riffs and call-to-arms beating drums before a climatic chorus. A jumbled effort that still feels honest and alive in it's finale, and what seems crucial at this point, is brief.  "In A Small Body" however is even more disjointed and unravels due to overindulgence, a problem that effects the final three songs here.  There is certainly a good simple folk song in there somewhere but it seems like Patrick and company just can't get out of their own way to end the disk. 

"(I Am The) Electric Man" is laughable and "Tried to Quit Smoking" is the final example of taking things just too far and becoming increasingly indulgent.  On the bands past releases there has been a sense of wanting to start the album over and relive it all after the disk ends; this is not the case with Local Business.  Had the the first four songs (and possibly the first 3 minutes of "Eating Disorder") been released by themselves, you would have a perfect EP; as it is the full length leaves me wanting.  The band still is more intriguing and engaging then the majority of groups today but some editorial reigning in is needed next outing.
That last line could prove difficult...Titus Andronicus is at their best when Patrick goes off and takes the audience and band with him.  Cascading wordy lines with riffs galore for the listener to be bombarded with...toning that down doesn't seem to work, but the 8 and nine minute musical wanderings here are really disappointing once the vocab stops. 

A mix bag of an album; half great, half I probably won't go back to, from a band that RtBE loves (we should have ranked The Monitor even higher in retrospect we would probably rank it 3rd from 2010) and will always check out.  Buy the album here, Catch the band live here, and peep a sample below:
"In A Big City"
"Still Life with Hot Deuce on  Silver Platter" Live in the Local Business Series:

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