Titus Andronicus
Local Business


4.0
excellent

Review

by robin EMERITUS
October 17th, 2012 | 115 replies | 17,622 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: oh, they’re funny but they drink too much, and don’t be surprised if they don’t amount to nothing at all

As far as self-professed nihilists go, Titus Andronicus are the dingiest, the booziest, the most completely aware, revelling in their shit-stained universe like a technicolour dreamcoat of worthlessness. Local Business, their third album, comes essentially defined as an album of meaningless Replacements rock ‘n’ roll, beginning by celebrating resentment like the gang bumped into Michel Foucault ‘round the corner and decided there’s no escaping the bitter, repressive pill that is life. “I think by now we’ve established that everything is inherently worthless and there is nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose,” Stickles sings, like a song to self, a declaration that, after building up nothing and battling with it like an actual fucking civil war, there’s little to do but sit in the squalor and smile. If you’re worried that Local Business serves you little, that it’s quaint, short, lacking concept- that it’s not punk rock through a practical, patterned lense- who could blame you? This is a band who named themselves after a big bloody play, who made something so monumental in The Monitor that they can probably never come down from it. The aftermath, this, the jittery one-punch Local Business, is practically a joke.

What Local Business entails though, in all its dramatic-comedy borderlines, is that age-old poetical cliché, as made famous, presumably, by melodramatic Facebook pages: behind every joke there’s a layer of truth, or, in Stickes’ case, behind every joke there’s a man throwing his life away, or having it wrecked by a manipulative universe going nowhere. Local Business feels like a far more accepting record of its neuroses than The Monitor; the gang-vocals are sillier, less taglines to mission statements and more pantomimic jingles. “Food Fight!” is a joke before the dark wave of “My Eating Disorder,” and “Titus Andronicus VS The Absurd Universe” is two minutes of a band rocking out as a quintet for the frills. From a band who tagged a nine minute song with chants of “It’s still us against them and they’re winning!” Titus Andronicus seem, on Local Business to be treating their aphorisms with a sense of silly: no longer incredulous, drunk and confused by the universe, Local Business is a messy, bizarre account of things Stickles and co. know they will never really understand. And so yes, “Food Fight!” is the silliest thing he’s recorded with this band, all chants and tuneless harmonicas where your nine minute epic should be, but “My Eating Disorder,” washes over it like a dark, dark wave, a list of pains and struggles that can only be explained in their processes, and not the reasons why or even an attempt to find them.

“In a Big City,” the most distinctly anthemic song in Stickles’ career, seems to make a fair point about him and his band- if it sounds like they’ve changed on Local Business, become more closed off and wackier by eliminating all the recurring players on The Monitor, at least they’re always this band, one talking about what it is to be an awful (average!) human among a load of others with grass greener: “I grew up on one side of the river / I was a disturbed dangerous drifter / moved to the other side of the river / now I’m a drop in a deluge of hipsters.” A song like this has more levity than those that came before it, but none of the weight is shed; Titus Andronicus is still a band feeling this all quite heavily, even if a joke can spare their troubles. Hell, it’s not as if you can reject any of these songs on the basis of the band’s ability to shoot them loud and proud, not even “(I Am The) Electric Man,” another piece of look-behind-you! pantomime gold, played sweetly and comically but ever so profoundly. Titus Andronicus rollick through this album, saying what they feel they need to and occasionally a few other dumb things, but never insincerely. Less wide-eyed Springsteen and more weird scratchy Replacements is the verdict. Really, it’s more meaninglessness in meaningful songs.

Local Business ends with another long, meandering send-off about the discovery of shame, as was the long journey of “The Battle of Hampton Roads.” Unlike its predecessor, though, “Tried to Quit Smoking” is the work of the same sad-sac in resigned slacker mode, easy to imagine lying slouched in an armchair with the guitar pressed up close, humming high lyrics that are excuses for all the bad times (“it’s not that I wanted to hurt you, I just didn’t care if I did”). Local Business feels as pressed with adrenaline through its run as the albums before it, but this final indictment of meaningless life is as vitally summative of the album as anything else, a stony acceptance of what’s happened and a hundred justifications lacked. There are enough lyrics in their world to tell you that a Titus Andronicus record isn’t as much medicine for bad times as it is a time to grieve and grin, and so Local Business may not look up to the sky like The Monitor did, but there’s no denying this is the same band, done searching, perhaps, but rocking out to the persuasion of pointlessness. “There’s nothing for me to do now but turn the radio up loud, put Eric’s sunglasses back on and black it out.” Just five guys, hangin’ out and relaying basic philosophical arguments about nothingness. Blast it loud.



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user ratings (227)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
October 17th 2012



4223 Comments


RIYL: repression

KILL
October 17th 2012



67191 Comments


hm

MrElmo
October 17th 2012



1950 Comments


hmm

mindleviticus
October 17th 2012



7950 Comments


lol

paxman
October 17th 2012



4083 Comments


Surprised this isn't getting more attention. The Monitor was huge for Sputnik.

Much in the same way Grizzly Bear's latest was a relative sleeper after 2009's breakout Veckatimest

chambered49
October 17th 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yay

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2012



15698 Comments


aw yeah robin do ya thang girl

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012



6251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Massive review man. I very much enjoyed reading it.

Album is magnificent btw.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

someguest
October 17th 2012



18941 Comments


Surprised this isn't getting more attention. The Monitor was huge for Sputnik.

Much in the same way Grizzly Bear's latest was a relative sleeper after 2009's breakout Veckatimest


well there's really no rhyme or reason as to why albums get hyped here

it's like a random draw most of the time

Digging: BABYMETAL - Babymetal

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2012



15698 Comments


also local business isn't gonna change anyones life like the monitor did

ComfortablyDumb
October 17th 2012



392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel like they weren't trying to make that life-changing album again this time around. The Monitor was really ambitious in scope and composition, whereas here it sounds like they're just trying to write some really good, fun songs. There's nothing wrong with that.

This album is really growing on me though. I wasn't impressed at first but I feel it really opens up and starts being catchier and less samey the more you listen to it.

someguest
October 17th 2012



18941 Comments


abraham lincoln saying 'fuck' is so life changing

robin
Emeritus
October 17th 2012



4223 Comments


i'm sure that's exactly what he meant

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012



6251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I feel like they weren't trying to make that life-changing album again this time around. The Monitor was really ambitious in scope and composition, whereas here it sounds like they're just trying to write some really good, fun songs. There's nothing wrong with that.

Yeah, agreed. This is one of the few albums from this year, that I can listen to in constant repeat, so for that alone it's great.

chupacabraisreal
October 17th 2012



193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a really really great review. I wish this album was just a little bit better but I have faith in Titus still.

Sirob
October 17th 2012



2653 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dam guys what should I rate this so far im thinking 4

HenchmanOfSanta
October 17th 2012



1666 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This ain't got shit on the Monitor.

Scoot
October 17th 2012



17493 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

monitor was sort of lame and this is worse

KeithStone582
October 17th 2012



1480 Comments


So I loved the Monitor. How about this?

Spec
October 17th 2012



26846 Comments


Monitor was a love or hate kind of thing.



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