For a bunch of self-loathing schlubs from Jersey, Titus Andronicus sure created something ambitious with their last album, The Monitor. At the time, I didn’t feel like I’d ever heard any band that had managed to take punk rock and turn it into something as sprawling and epic as that album, and for that it quickly became one of my favorite albums in recent memory. Still, considering the kind of scruffy garage-punk aesthetic that Titus Andronicus have always embodied, I kind of figured that they wouldn’t ever stand a chance of creating something nearly as satisfying. So did Local Business prove me right? Well, yeah, but that doesn’t mean that these guys still haven’t turned out a solid album full of songs that rock hard while still trying to make sense of being young, drunk, and angry.
I guess being on the road as much as Titus Andronicus was in support of their last album took a toll on a lot of the members, since pretty much the whole T.A. lineup on Local Business is made-up of newcomers apart from drummer Eric Harm and lead singer/songwriter Patrick Sickles. And that’s fine, since Sickles really seems to be the guiding force of the band. The album opens with the comically world-weary lines “I think by now we’ve established everything is inherintly worthless / And there’s nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose”. And it’s those kind of lyrics that remind me why I love both Patrick Sickles’ heady existential lyrics as well as the “fuck the world” mentality of this band as a whole.
On our recent podcast about concept albums, Sean talked about how he always felt a little worn out by the second half of The Monitor because of the longer, less-rocking songs. That’s kind of how I feel about Local Business, since the first three songs serve as an exhilariting suite of balls-out rockers, but the back half contains some longer tracks like “In a Small Body” and “Tried To Quite Smoking” that are fine, but don’t really feel as captivating or immediate as this band’s best work. Still, it’s an album that has more than it’s share of exciting moments, and sees these punks continuing to fight the good fight as long as the enemy is everywhere.
Favorite Tracks: “Ecce Homo”, “Still Life With Hot Deuce On A Hot Platter”, “In A Big City”