Titus Andronicus – The Monitor [Album Review, SxSW 2010]

by Woody on March 11, 2010


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.

Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilary March 11, 2010 at 11:32 am

150 years (2010 – 1860 = 150).

Woody March 11, 2010 at 11:44 am

Hilary, you are correct.

If I was smart, I wouldn’t be working for free for all these years. Oz owes me about $578 in past due wages.

Steve McCoy March 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I wasn’t quite sure whether to pick this up. You convinced me to take the leap. Thanks.

That Guy March 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Woody – you only charge $1 per post? You are the Tim Lincecum of the music blog world.

David March 12, 2010 at 6:15 am

Been meaning to listen to this for a while… itunesd it this morning after this post and this is easily the best record of 2010 so far from what ive heard.

Eugenia March 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I’m not convinced. After I read this and the Pitchfork review, I gave it a listen on iTunes, and the singer simply can’t sing. Now, I’m the one who always said that rock is about heart and not singing abilities, but this guy, this guy really gets in my way of enjoying the otherwise “ok” music.

Woody March 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Eugenia. This is one of those albums that really connect when you give it a couple of listens – beginning to end. Oddly enough, Oz had the same reaction and then it just clicked with him. If you have any credits on emusic, I think would be a worthy use of them. Thanks for reading.

emr December 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm

250 years ago??

Selvam, Sivagangai December 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Didn’t like this album much.

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