Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy

by Jim Cunnar Rating:10 Release Date:2015-08-07

Punk is a complex beast. Musically, it is so much more than the two-minute, warp-speed, vertigo-inducing smack in the face songs that people know. Lyrically, its anarchist nature makes it the perfect vehicle for dialogues about complex, muddy topics.  

Classic punk albums like London Calling by The Clash, Separation Sunday by The Hold Steady, and Zen Arcade by Hüsker Dü are all thematically big, bold and brash. In the same vein as those albums, Titus Andronicus' latest effort, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, is a brilliant example of a band taking the brakes off and recklessly creating an instant classic. 

Patrick Stickles, Titus' head honcho, has never shied away from making his very unique brand of music. Hell, he named his band after a Shakespearean character whose eponymous play was one of Shakespeare's most bloody and violent. He's written songs about having Selective Eating Disorder and The Monitor, the band's second album, is a Civil War-themed epic work which ends with a 14 plus minute song about the most famous naval battle of the war. He is beyond well read and has been through some heavy personal issues - a combustible mix which culminates on this album. 

On The Most Lamentable Tragedy, which is a play on the full title of the Shakespeare play the band is named after, Stickles outdoes himself. TMLT clocks in at over 90 minutes, a double album of such proportion that it could easily be considered a triple album. It has been described as a rock opera in five parts, the story of an unnamed protagonist who meets his doppelgänger and the journey which ensues.  

The album is divided into acts by soft short interludes. It continues the "No Future" song thread from prior albums, with parts four and five bookending the 29 songs. They cover the Pogues, despite a difficult tour with them in 2011. They sing "Auld Land Syne" and remake the first song off The Monitor, "A More Perfect Union". Songs like "I Lost My Mind" and "I'm Going Insane (Finish Him)" are ferocious and cathartic. The penultimate song "Stable Boy" was recorded on cassette and brings the narrative full circle with the chorus "Now I know why I was born to die, I've been informed of forever."  

On TMLT it's as if Stickles told his band mates, "Plug your shit in and let's go." The album puts off a vibe that this might be Titus Andronicus' swan song because it is urgent. It's also sloppy and raw and human. This album isn't just one of the best of 2015... It will go down as one of the best punk albums of all time. Great albums are the ones which teeter on the edge of falling apart. And from the vulnerability which Pat Stickles writes, he knows a thing or two about that.  

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