High expectations – they’re dangerous.
I first heard Titus Andronicus on a jog around the neighborhood in March 2011, a few months after they released their 2nd full length, The Monitor. Halfway through the opener, “A More Perfect Union,” I was all systems go, hair standing on end. It was exhilarating (as was their live show a month later). The album was rich with imagery, rage, a continuity and flow from song to song, an abundance of fist-to-the-air-moments, and a full production sound.
So maybe I can be partly blamed for the high expectations I brought to the table today when I tapped “Play” on T.A.’s new release, Local Business. I strapped on the earbuds and the running shoes and embarked on that familiar jog around the neighborhood, ready for that feeling, that Red Bull-will-give-you-Wings rush that music can provide…
Granted, the opening trio of songs – “Ecce Homo,” “Still Life With Hot Deuce on Silver Platter,” and “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With Flood of Detritus” – are solid rockers with that familiar angst and anger, a specialty of frontman Patrick Stickles. They’re good, and they very well may grow on me, but where The Monitor had that epic, fulfilling feel to it, Local Business has a garage-y, rushed quality to it. And, a lot like the (disappointing) album cover, the record’s production sound seems a lot more Do It Yourself and lower quality than the two previous releases.
I know it’s not really fair of me to rush to the web on the first day of its release to spit out my less than favorable judgment. But dammit, I was expecting more! They captured lightning in a bottle on The Monitor, and I know Stickles has it in him to go to that level again. On first listen, Local Business doesn’t come close.
→ Local Business on Amazon.
Here’s “Still Life with Hot Deuce on Silver Platter” at Shayz Lounge in Brooklyn. See all Local Business Sessions at locations around Brooklyn here on Pitchfork.