As the New Jersey outfit return to the UK with their fourth album including a trip to Liverpool, Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald reflects on their 93-minute rock & roll epic.
Titus Andronicus have today announced UK dates for their latest tour, including a show at The Kazimier on November 12.
Formed in Glen Rock, New Jersey in 2005, named after one of Shakespeare‘s most graphically violent plays, and four albums into a strange and distinctly novel musical career, Titus Andronicus have many definitions.
It would be far too easy, and frankly, much too lazy, to describe the band as just another skinny jeaned, east coast post punk, indie rock band. Labels are easy enough to come by, but this band defy such slack generalisation.
Early in their career, they were described in a positive light as violent, overblown and irreverent, finding themselves very slightly on the wrong side of cool – in a good way, with their insistence on 70s prog-style concept albums, thematic songwriting, and theatrical bombast. Sprawling themes develop during the listening, and the band’s relentless touring schedule has seen them finding favour with audiences from Coachella, Roskilde, and Lollapalooza to fans of The Pogues and Bright Eyes who the band have opened for in recent years.
Their fourth studio album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, written across five acts, is a staggering 29 song, 93 minute rock opera, centred around a single character who finds himself in a state of inner despair, prior to meeting his doppelganger. They journey together through states of past and future consciousness, and arrive at the realisation of a central theme – the sense that the things that sustain us all can often be the very same things that destroy us.
An age old proposition, true enough. The album, which also contains covers of The Pogues‘ A Pair Of Brown Eyes as well as Daniel Johnston‘s I Lost My Mind, is described by the band’s singer/songwriter Patrick Stickles as ‘a complicated metaphor for manic depression, melding elements of philosophy, psychology and science fiction through the plight of the troubled protagonist’s inner demons‘. Sharply challenging ideas here, for bluntly and brutally challenging times.
There are people out there, hardcore fans of Titus Andronicus, who believe that this is the greatest band in the world right now. There’s a very good chance that those people are about to be proved right.