Thursday, May 29, 2008

Album Review - Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus – The Airing Of Grievances
[Troubleman Limited; 22/04/2008]

Glen Rock, New Jersye's Titus Andronicus' name kicks off the long line of references through their music (album title, anybody?). If choosing mind-bending monikers isn't one of their finest points, then some of their ideas in the musical ranks could be, with their debut album The Airing of Grievances showcasing potential quality that could put their lo-fi contemporaries to shame.

Okay, so I realise the term “lo-fi” has been mentioned in abundance during the course of 2008, but it's starting to seem that the days of recording with minimal budgets and scuzzy soundscapes are back. 'Andronicus, despite their placing in this current trend, have the bit between their teeth, rendering something that makes the listeners thoughts tick just that little bit faster.

The distorted noise the band holds within the palms of their hands is just one of the many underlining qualities of this release. Unlike some of their contemporaries in this genre who choose to hide under the security blanket of fuzz, Titus Andronicus use the latter to extrude their emotion that can only be described as Conor Oberst on cranky pills, while this is backed up by howling instrumentation that does its best to make your bedroom walls sweat.

When frontman/guitarist Liam Betson screams the words “fuck you” during the opening barrage that is 'Fear and Loathing in Mahwah', the album rarely takes a backward step from here on. The combo knockout comes from 'No Future' and No Future Part Two; The Days After No Future'. The former is as close to ballad as this band will get to producing despite its comfort in this collection of tunes, while the swirling soundscapes that almost seem suffocated during the latter mentioned track also possess a diverse quality that the band presents on numerous occasions throughout.

Titus Andronicus dip their tows in the water of various genres without fully grabbing or rehashing any of them, with loudness and fuzz the only two traits that stamp their feet and beg to be counted. The Airing of Grievances hasn't hit with its full force just yet, but like the best albums, progression is all about time and once this release fulfills this requirement then a whole new outlook could be heard.

By Simon K

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