Titus Andronicus
The Airing of Grievances


4.5
superb

Review

by WhatSayYou USER (3 Reviews)
March 30th, 2009 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "There is not a doctor that can diagnose me/I am dying slowly from Patrick Stickle's Disease."

In 2002, Desaparecidos released Read Music/Speak Spanish, which is considered to by some to be the ultimate lashing out of suburban brutality in the post-hardcore genre. Lead vocalist Conor Oberst sounds angrier than he ever did in his future bands, lashing out at corporate greed and suburban detachment with moody, furious detachment. The result is a dizzying collection of anger, an emotion sometimes underutilized in contemporary post-hardcore. Titus Andronicus, however, have an anger that is fully realized , and they use it efficiently on The Airing of Grievances. Titus Andronicus, to begin with, are extremely literate. Numerous literary and pop-culture references can be found throughout the album, including a reading from the Shakespearean play from which the band derives their name. These references add something unique, something hard to place, to the distorted guitars and cracked vocals that characterize this band’s debut: intelligence.

“Throw my guitar down on the floor/No one cares what I've got to say anymore/I didn't come here to be damned with faint praise/I'll write my masterpiece some other day.” Such a damning proclamation begins the (autobiographical?) song “Titus Andronicus”, summing up the attitude towards creation that permeates the entire album. Singer Patrick Stickles is pissed off in an almost nihilist sense- he’s frustrated with the process of creation and the products that yield from it. The songs are fast, but Stickles is faster. He’s screaming when the music becomes upbeat, and he's screaming when all that remains is the ambiance vibrating from the resting guitars. In fact, doesn’t let off until his 45 minutes of album is up.

As compelling as their singer is, however, the most fascinating thing about Titus Andronicus is the variety of influences they utilize in order to air their grievances. They are at once indie and punk, unleashing at times with surprising agility, but at the same time knowing when to restrain the tempo and lasso the galloping guitars. Drummer Eric Harm’s ability to remain in the background is impressive, holding the music together when it could easily collapse under its own density. Shoegaze elements are also quite obvious. As mentioned before, the drums are almost an afterthought. The vocals dominate not because of the mixing or production, but because of the intensity in Stickles voice. He screams as if he is competing against the raging guitars, and is sometimes indistinguishable in the fury. This effect really adds to the overall mood of the album, leaving the impression that Stickles is actually reading a list of the things he hates as the guitars chatter and drone in the background.


The most impressive aspect of the shoe gaze influence is that it does not detract from the fact that these guys are essentially making punk rock. Usually, in albums such as these, one influence will outweigh another, and gradually cause a band to lean heavily towards one genre. Luckily, Titus Andronicus have no such problem. They maintain the tempest throughout, never allowing their indie or shoe gaze elements to cancel out their main message: they’re f*cking pissed off. The songs still drip with existential anguish and life's small frustrations, and Titus Andronicus have no trouble at all channeling them. In the end, music is one of the most honest forms of self-examination, and this album is self-examination to the most painstaking degree.


user ratings (277)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Channing Freeman STAFF (5)
What I learned from Titus Andronicus:...

Mike Allen (4)
Fuck everything, fuck me...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
March 30th 2009


15969 Comments


Not a bad review. There are a few minor issues such as the spacing between the last paragraph and the one above it, and liberal use of commas. Also, some funky wording in a few places.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Kiran
Emeritus
March 30th 2009


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good album. Been listening to it in parts when I get around to it but not enough to have any real rating of it yet.

Zippermouth2
March 31st 2009


33 Comments


Pretty sic review.

Mendigo
March 31st 2009


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review. and a good album too, the No Future parts are amazing (especially the first one).

gaslightanthem
March 31st 2009


5209 Comments


Good review but I don't agree with this at all:


"In 2002, Desaparecidos released Read Music/Speak Spanish, which is considered to by some to be the ultimate lashing out of suburban brutality in the post-hardcore genre."

timbo8
March 31st 2009


618 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ah, this is (was?) on my "to review" list. Though actually, I'm still not quite sure what I think of this. Great review.

Zippermouth
March 31st 2009


1305 Comments


Unbanned! I'm happy so I'm going to pos you again.

WhatSayYou
April 1st 2009


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Too few people listen to this album..its so good.

AggravatedYeti
April 4th 2009


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

good review, if a bit sparse, but this album is boss so good job.

shade
July 9th 2009


1198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

THROW MY GUITAR DOWN ON THE FLOOR

RamsesII
November 7th 2009


80 Comments


The album title is sooooo Seinfeld.

I love how everything about this band is an allusion.


Kiran
Emeritus
February 27th 2010


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

love these guys so much at the moment

BigHans
March 4th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Arms Against Atrophy and Fear and Loathing are ruling me at the moment. I still need to hear the new one.

BigHans
March 4th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And the epic ending of the first No Future is ear sex.

Kiran
Emeritus
March 4th 2010


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

omg bighans, get the new one!

BigHans
March 4th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening to it as we speak. Read your review of it, its fucking brilliant. I'm loving it so far.

Kiran
Emeritus
May 9th 2010


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the huge 'fuck you' a minute into the first track is the best start to an album ever

Hommer
May 9th 2010


52 Comments


Seinfeld reference FTW!

Shrapnel94
June 3rd 2010


2213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Still better than the Monitor

EVedder27
July 11th 2010


6088 Comments


Listening to this for the first time and it isn't far below The Monitor



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