Titus Andronicus, punk rocker

I’m having an absolute blast listening to The Airing of Grievances, the debut album from New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus—who were recently recently anointed by Pitchfork with an 8.5 and a booking at this year’s festival. I’d say Pitchfork hit the nail on the head this time—this record is an energetic, rough-edged, punk rock joy, and one of the best indie rock debuts I’ve heard in recent memory.

The Airing of Grievances definitely doesn’t carve out any new musical territory; nor does it rely on exceptional chops or especially strong songwriting. Instead it’s one of those records that remind you why punk rock will always sound great—that there’s always room for another sloppy, noisy, hard-rocking record that careens along largely on the tremendous force of its own energy and excitement. The recording is appropriately lo-fi—everything’s turned up to the point of distortion, and it sounds perfect. The drums pound, the guitars crunch, and the singer screams, yelps, and bleats, and all of it sounds fantastic.

The lyrics are often depressive, and contain an element of self-aware scenesterism—not particularly likely to be a turn-on for me ordinarily, but the music is so genuinely joyful that it hasn’t become a problem for me so far (during the half-dozen or so times I’ve played the record in the last 24 hours). But the humor in the lyrics goes a long way—for example, here’s the first verse of “My Time Outside the Womb”: “The first thing you see is the light / And then you focus on a man with a mask and a knife / And then he cuts you away from everything you thought you knew about life.” And then there’s the record’s true highlight, the eponymous “Titus Andronicus,” an infectious, hilarious punk stomper anchored by a memorable (end very often repeated) chorus of “Your life is over / Your life is over.” The singer also details exactly what the end of your life will mean: “No more cigarettes/ No more having sex / No more getting drunk till you fall on the floor….”

I’m not sure if this is a record for the ages, but it sure is a whole lot of fun.


1 Response to “Titus Andronicus, punk rocker”

  1. 1 Best new music 2008 « Good Readings Trackback on December 16, 2008 at 2:18 PM

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