[one_half last=”no”]
Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy

NBHAP Rating: 4,3/5


[one_half last=”yes”]TITUS ANDRONICUS
The Most Lamentable Tragedy

Release-Date: 28.07.2015
Label: Merge Records

01. The Angry Hour
02. No Future IV: No Future Triumphant
03. Stranded (On My Own)
04. Lonely Boy
05. I Lost My Mind (+@)
06. Look Alive
07. The Magic Morning
08. Lookalike
09. I Lost My Mind
10. Mr. E. Mann
11. Fired Up
12. Dimed Out
13. More Perfect Union
14. [Intermission]
15. Sun Salutation
17. Funny Feeling
18. Fatal Flaw
19. Please
20. Come On, Siobhan
21. A Pair of Brown Eyes
22. Auld Lang Syne
23. I’m Going Insane (Finish Him)
24. The Fall
25. Into the Void (Filler)
26. No Future Part V: In Endless Dreaming
27. [ seven seconds ]
28. Stable Boy
29. A Moral





A first encounter with TITUS ANDRONICUS feels as if THE CLASH and HÜSKER DÜ formed an indie rock supergroup. It’s an upfront experience full of powerful chords, collective yelling, breathless harmonies and an imminent madness. The band, originally from New Jersey, now New York, occasionally sounds like SPRINGSTEEN would have if he’d decided to soundtrack experiences in an internship at the mental institution instead of the local car repair shop.

Their ambition has lead TITUS ANDRONICUS close to contemporary punk operas like FUCKED UP‘s David Comes To Life before. Where former records like 2010’s The Monitor already exercised in progressive storytelling (using The Civil War as a metaphor) through the ears of punk, The Most Lamentable Tragedy decides to push things a little further. The facts: 29 songs, more than 90 minutes playtime, an epic story about a fictional, unnamed character that, by facing and struggling his own evil doppelgänger, starts a journey through manic depressive states. Although it’s a fictional concept, TITUS ANDRONICUS‘ singer and mastermind Patrick Stickles own life is pretty close to it – including the sickness.

Photo by Matthew Greeley

Photo by Matthew Greeley

Putting two different versions of a song called I Lost My Mind (one of them being a cover of the DANIEL JOHNSTON track) on an album gives little room for interpretation. And indeed, Stickles is a man of clear statements, on and off the record. Neither has he ever tried to hide his experiences with manic depression, nor is he afraid of speaking up about his own band’s independency in contrast to commercial ambitions of others. In fact, there will only be few voices this year to publically call KENDRICK LAMAR a ‘shoe spokesperson’.

You can’t separate TITUS ANDRONICUS‘ songs from their mastermind’s impulsive moods. On The Most Lamentable Tragedy he tends to channel his introspective anger and fear more than stressing the cheerful, collective loser image of former smash hits. It’s more a ‘I hate to be awake’-like vibe than a ‘You will always be a loser’ one.

Musically, TITUS ANDRONICUS developed a mastership in oscillating between sweet, naive pop, written in a state of delusion, several roots rock reminiscences and indie rock going mental. It’s like they’ve studied the Great American Songbook and somehow managed to identify a flipside to every chapter. It works though. The STONES-blues of Lonely Boy perfectly aligns with Lookalike‘s hardcore and OWEN PALLETT‘s violins in Come On, Siobhán while everything’s washed in Stickles’ coarse voice.

As if it wouldn’t be enough to write a nerve-twisting punk drama like this with its several links throughout the five acts, The Most Lamentable Tragedy also has to be conceived as another giant chapter in TITUS ANDRONICUS‘ self-referring catalogue (there’s a No Future Part IV and V and another More Perfect Union). Thus, trespassing visitors of these highspeed anthems might be a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of input. TITUS ANDRONICUS tend to be exhausting. At the very least they’re demanding. But it’s so very worthwhile to hear a band go all-in at such a high level that this record simply has to be seen as a challenge not as an insult to our lazy ears.

For fans of Titus Andronicus’ epic indie punk operas, The Most Lamentable Tragedy might be the peak of the band’s creation – for the rest, it’ll make them even more unapproachable.