With the success of workingman’s punk and garage-rock, it was only a matter of time before New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus got some success, and that happened after 2010’s The Monitor (QRO review). For follow-up Local Business, the band has gone bigger – but not necessarily better, abandoning much of the Americana rock that made The Monitor so great.
Note that this doesn’t apply to opener “Ecce Homo”, a working class anthem “from the Atlantic to the Pacific”. “Ecce” seems to promise another rollicking-but-interesting time from Titus, but then the band gets simpler in tracks like the following “Still Life With Hot Deuce and Silver Platter”, “My Eating Disorder”, and others. What’s more, while the group was able to make long songs work on The Monitor (from 7:09 minute opener “A More Perfect Union” to 14:02 closer “The Battle of Hampton Roads”), on Local Business the lengthy ones just seem to go on & on. Indeed, the enjoyable (if still simple) diner-garage party “Eating” shifts into grind for far too much of its 8:12 minutes. Similarly, the pressure to “Still Life” and wistful rock to “In a Small Body” lose steam. Contrastingly, there’s energy to spare in shorter songs like motorcycle gang instrumental “Food Fight!” and the swaying rock of “(I Am the) Electric Man”.
Titus Andronicus saw a lot of personnel changes last year, to the point where only singer/guitarist Patrick Stickles and drummer Eric Harm still remain from The Monitor. Their live show (QRO photos) has kept up their energy, but perhaps the group has been a little too influenced by the less ambitious Brooklyn party-garage scene, and strayed away from their more original Garden State roots.