I’ve had the pleasure of owning Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor for a month now and it is has slowly worked its way into my subconscious like a slow, smoldering fire building into an out of control blaze. The comparisons to Bruce are easy enough since both are both from Jersey, but I would throw equal bits of The Pogues, The Mats and any other band that throws caution to the wind and rocks your socks off.
The Monitor is an ambitious concept album on The Civil War. It attempts to revisit the issues that led our country to that war almost 250 years ago and where we’ve gone since. It’s somewhat bizarre in its approach, but it works. And when punk-inspired bands fire out seven minute+ tunes like a blackjack dealer dealing 15′s on the subject’s first night in Vegas, well, you know you are in for something unique.
The Monitor gets better with every spin. They pay a nice little vocal nod to their elder statesman on “A More Perfect Union” and it seems that they are willing to try just about anything thereafter. Their songs can make you feel like you’re riding a 50 foot wave one moment and crashing into the rocks the next. It’s both an exhilarating and exhausting album. Tunes like Richard II and Theme From “Cheers” connect so easily that you feel the instant need to sing along without knowing the words.
I can only assume that the Jersey quintet produce quite the racket in a live setting, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. I’ll find out at SXSW next week. The band will also be at the Pitchfork festival this summer.