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- The Airing Of Grievances by Titus Andronicus
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8/10 The Doc Customer review, 11th July 2016
Imagine, if you can, Conor Oberst on a Springsteen bender and fronting the early Replacements, or Social Distortion covering the Pogues and you're still only halfway to picturing the storm that Titus Andronicus whip up.
This is one of those albums that was deserving of a much wider audience than the one than it probably got. Patrick Stickles is a great lyricist in the Bright Eyes mould - downtrodden, heartbroken and full of venom - but far from being depressing, these rabble-rousing anthems are utterly life-affirming and embody everything that good rock music should be about. The lyrics to 'Titus Andronicus', for example - "No more cigarettes/no more having sex/no more drinking till you fall on the floor" - and it's closing terrace chant of "Your life is over!" make death and misery seem like something to be heartily embraced instead of fought against.
These guys are spiteful, sloppy, raucus, hideously depressed, raging at the world that made them that way, and absolutely steaming drunk to boot. The sound is rough and ready to say the least but the band are clearly having a whale of a time - so much so that they forgot to produce the album. Lyrically there's a great mix of the personal and the political, and musically there are hints of everything from Bright Eyes to the boss and 60s doo-wop to Sham 69 .
It sounds, quite frankly, like an absolute f*cking riot, and anyone who's been to one of their live shows will attest to their endless energy, charisma and raw power. It's a shame how quickly they peaked - second album The Monitor was even better than this, but they quickly descended into self-indulgent, self-parody in pretty short order - but as an opening broadside this was great.
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