Punk, tragedy and Titus Andronicus

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Titus Andronicus is Shakespeare’s first attempt at tragically bloody and violent revenge plays. Often labeled as Shakespeare’s most gruesome play, featuring rampant violence and gore; today it still holds its place in history as a true classic. On the other hand Punk/Indie rock group Titus Andronicus out of Glen Rock, New Jersey, oddly boast the same name and even pack a handful of Shakespeare references throughout. Let’s just say this isn’t quite what springs to mind when one thinks of a punk band.

Titus Andronicus the Most Lamentable Tragedy

Punk, tragedy and Titus Andronicus, what more could you want? The band have geared up an epic 93 minute record The Most Lamentable Tragedy in which they refuse to let up for a second.

Forming in 2005, band members have come and gone with about 20 total throughout the band’s history. The current lineup however consists of Patrick Stickles, Eric Harm, Julian Veronesi, Adam Reich, Jonah Maurer, and Elio DeLuca. Together they have come together for their latest (now fourth), album release enticingly entitled The Most Lamentable Tragedy. Spanning over 93 minutes with an exceedingly impressive 29 tracks in the form of three LPs, The Most Lamentable Tragedy tackles a vast variety of artistic styles and directions, through the clever implementation of theatrical elements and soundscapes. If you’re already familiar with the group you should already know this is anything but uncharted territory, with their 2010 release The Monitor being a civil war concept album of epic magnitudes.

The Most Lamentable Tragedy‘s narrative follows the crooked hero’s journey of a character who’s confronted by his own doppelgänger. The album kicks off with a nail biting introduction entitled The Angry Hour, a slow progression of sonic vibrancy directing shivers to the core. After the initial two minutes of suspense we’re transported into a world of Clash-like guitar rhythms and vocal melody’s reminiscing Dropkick Murphy’s/The Replacements, on No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant. From the very first chords the nostalgia factor is strong, dead on resembling Teenage Lobotomy by The Ramones. However the Ramones vibe quickly comes to a halt and the track quickly become a breed of its own, jamming classic punk rock and pub rock into one grand scheme.

Personally Titus Andronicus have always packed a pretty hefty nostalgia factor into their work and this project seems to be no exception. The Clash vibes are everywhere on this thing, and hey I’m not really complaining. Track #20 Come on Siobhan is a prime example. Everything from Stickles’ vocal delivery to the violins hits the 80’s Clash, punk rock vibe perfectly! It’s uncanny. Dimed Out serves up a relentless energy, that is contagious to the last beat. This track is a banger and should be blasted at any and every party, and I guarantee the lyrics are relatable to a fair few no good, dirty punk kids; “Don’t wanna buy an ounce for me, the right amount is the entire pound, I only like it when it’s dimed out”.

All in all The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a project that takes time to digest and really cannot be summed up into a single review. Its 93 minutes should be carefully attended to in a single listening if possible, because after all The Most Lamentable Tragedy is most definitely a conceptual journey. If you’re a fan of classic punk rock vibes, or even pub rock I’d strongly suggest you give the latest Titus Andronicus effort a chance, even if its length seems daunting. However the experience is flowing and seamless with rarely a dull moment in sight. The Most Lamentable Tragedy is not only one of the best releases of 2015; it is exceedingly refreshing to the punk scene in general and could be the next big thing.

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