Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

On Further Review...
by Nick Parker

Now on Tour:
EU / North America dates

I don’t want to overstate this, but there is something a little self destructive about Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor.

The album is not short of great tracks. It’s not lacking in a voice that’s it's own either. (The band has already lead us into a really beguiling world of working-class lives writ-large... ) Many of the songs on The Monitor move very subtly between contradictions. There is, for example, a lot of clever word-play that smacks of real thinkers behind the scenes. Most of the songs though, seem born of a bleary-eyed state of keg-stands, basement parties, and cigarettes chain-smoked veraciously, so you wonder how they can get their heads straight enough to pull the tracks together.

The answer is that the show is a persona, of course (One give-away: No-one can be that obsessed with New Jersey!). But Titus are nurturing their characters all the time and it is a fascinating world that they are propagating: Working-class kids without much hope, but with each other; Americans through and through, appropriating all the right-wing shit, and letting the rest of us have some pride in the country. This surely is why the songs on “The Monitor” are dressed in Lincoln speeches.

Then again, I could be wrong... Like the massive reverb swells that overwhelmed Titus’s first album, The Airing of Grievances, The Monitor is in many ways obscure – even obscured. The obfuscation often becomes frustrating. The band didn’t need to hide their great tunes behind cloudy effects the first time around, and I would dare to say they don’t need the gimmicks of political rhetoric to block our access to their own statements about living their lives in these times. That’s the self-destructive thing I worry about with this band. Perhaps their stories, which deserve to be told, will be lost in all the confusion.

Titus Andronicus
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