TITUS ANDRONICUS – The Airing Of Grievances (Merok)

Having seen Titus Andronicus compared to both Arcade Fire and Nirvana, I thought that they would be worth checking out, but perhaps the titles of the album and first track ‘Fear And Loathing In Mahwah, NJ’ should have given me a clue as to what they really sounded like. This is a very angry band, and they have said that if all the bad people that pissed them off disappeared they don’t know what they would write songs about. Now I don’t mind angry – The Clash and Pistols have always been faves, and Lennon could do it with minimal effort, but Titus Andronicus seem only to be able to vent their spleen in the lyrics, while setting them to the most mundane tunes. ‘My Time Outside The Womb’ is a bar-room stomp, and ‘Joset Of Nazareth’s Blues’ is rendered unlistenable by the vocalist’s tortured screaming over sub-Dylan guitar strumming and harmonica. ‘Arms Against Atrophy’ rips off The Clash in both vocal delivery and music - but comes nowhere near their power - and ‘No Future’ takes it’s title from the Pistols, but sets it to a seven minute dirge that seems to drag on forever. Not content with that they then give us another six minutes of ‘No Future Part Two – The Days After No Future’, which is a dead ringer for the Pogues. They might be trying to make us think that they are intelligent by naming songs ‘Albert Camus’ and ‘Upon Viewing Brueghels’ - Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus’, but if these then turn out to be screamed rants over the most basic backing then they are fooling no-one. This album was a real struggle to get through, and if it was not for the fact that I had to listen to it again for this review then once would have been more than enough.
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