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Titus Andronicus: Back in ‘Business’

Eclectic indie group triumphs with bold, moody third album

The indie-folk-punk combination Titus Andronicus released its third album, Local Business, Oct. 22. The New Jersey band’s first album was raucous and hardy, the second introspective and thorough, sporting incredibly powerful sing-alongs and riotous choruses, but the group’s newest offering, Local Business, presents a more ‘70s-era vibe.

Many of the album’s riffs are simple and catchy, unlike the band’s previous, more complicated releases. As a whole, Local Business is enjoyable, but it lacks the deep-seated spirit of the previous two albums that Titus Andronicus fans have grown to love. This lack of spirit echoes many of the sentiments expressed in the lyrics. The opening song “Ecce Homo” (which translates to “look at man”) presents this commentary: “Now I think we’ve established / everything is inherently worthless / there’s nothing in the universe / with any objective purpose.” The bleak and apathetic point of view continues through a good portion of the album but is coupled with acceptance and slight optimism in the final refrain of “Ecce Homo”: “I know it’s a lot more than just being bored / I know it’s nothing more than just being born.”

The other side of the album, with songs such as “My Eating Disorder,” evokes a whiny, negative feeling. The song seems self-pitying and alienating. Listeners could cheer along with many songs on 2010’s The Monitor, but here the band presents a strange juxtaposition between self-indulgent negativity and spirited, enthusiastic-sounding riffs.

The album ends on a sad note with the song “Tried to Quit Smoking.” A self-deprecating, desperate plea for apology, this lighter-waving-worthy number is pessimistic and bleak — but in a satisfying way. It captures the album’s apathetic sentiments. It’s humorous and moody and provides a fitting end to a satisfying album.

Ultimately, Titus Andronicus turned from a creative outlet to a critical voice of today’s apathetic generation. Titus has finally embraced its punk origins, inherently political and unsatisfied.