Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars USS vs Them, 25 Mar 2010
By 
This review is from: THE MONITOR (Audio CD)
History alert! The USS Monitor was the US Navy's first ironclad warship and fought the similarly-clad CSS Virginia to a draw at the Battle of Hampton Roads during the American Civil War. Titus Andronicus is in turn Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedy themed on Roman revenge.

Last year, Titus Andronicus the band snuck out The Airing of Grievances, an impressively abrasive garage-country-punk cacophony that recalled Cursive battling Bright Eyes's Desaparecidos project for supremacy. Their sophomore album The Monitor builds on that patented racket substantially, casually courting the Civil War by means of a concept whilst framing it against modern New Jersey living.

Not content, The Monitor sprawls decadently across 65 minutes, opening with a reading of Abraham Lincoln and later one of the then president of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis. Fourteen (14!) of these minutes are taken to digest "The Battle Of Hampton Roads" itself, a huge accomplishment of a track that includes an incongruous yet marvellously welcome bagpipe solo. Earlier, "...And Ever" even thinks to throw in a similarly pleasing E-Street sax chorus. Elsewhere, the Boss himself gets a name-check and more than a nod on "A More Perfect Union" with this choice deformation: "Tramps like us, baby, we were born to die."

Furthermore, The Monitor houses innumerable guest appearances including contributions by the likes of Vivian Girls and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady. The downtempo duet that Jenn Wassner of alt-folk outfit Wye Oak provides on "To Old Friends And New" is particularly memorable set against militaristic drumming. Suffice it to say that dumb punk-rock this is not.

The Monitor could easily have been an indulgent mess, yet Patrick Stickles' vocal vitriol ties the project together just as it did on the even more ramshackle debut. His tumbling rhythm lends the endeavour real weight, his variety more so. It's ironic then that nihilistic staples such as "the enemy is everywhere" and "you will always be a loser" are repeated obsessively until they land like smashing your head against the wall. However, these statements aren't aimless nor uncreative. Each instance increases in dramatic tension. Each builds to well-worked releases suggesting further schooling in Conor Oberst.

The quiet bridge in "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future" rides along on frenetic hi-hat, "Richard II" is full of bouncing energy, clashing guitar edges and near-danceable, Pogues-like shenanigans. The galloping drums in "A Pot In Which To ****" match the distant "whoa, oh, ohs" to perfection as a reverbed riff takes centre stage. Like elsewhere, they then lurch back into piano-led, E-Street bar-room punk.

Sufficiently ragged throughout, The Monitor's rough edges provide its successes. Where backing "whoa, oh, oh, oohs" could have upset the raucous mix, raw interjections of guitar provide the necessary balance. Stickles' drunken Irish holler compliments The Monitor magnificently where a lesser voice could have veered it towards more plodding material. Over 65 minutes, inevitably there are candidates for exclusion on the basis of common economy, but surprisingly few jump out. Each guitar solo is full of adrenalin-soaked necessity, each reprised chorus full of alcohol-fuelled debauchery.

Titus Andronicus are simultaneously angry and fun and it makes them compelling listening. The Monitor is loose, lengthy and dishevelled. Together, they make an invincible statement of fear and awe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.1 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Manchester, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,252