Titus Andronicus could just be onto something.
Sophie Bruce 2009-01-27
The Airing Of Grievances – the debut album by 'regular New Jersey guys' Titus Andronicus – is on the whole just a little too ordinary. There's a lot of teenage angst here, but as yet they lack the skills necessary to translate their venting into song. They have unarguable potential, but this album far from realises it.
As often with debuts, there are quoted influences. Though the band's optimistic citations of Springsteen and The Pogues clash spectacularly with those you get from hearing the album - a whisper of the Quo here and there, the occasional glimpse of early Oasis and pithy vocals akin to Placebo's Brian Molko.
Highlights are Arms Against Atrophy and Upon Viewing Brugel's Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus where Stickles comes closest to greatness managing to sound uncannily like Jack White. And eponymous track Titus Andronicus - with its acoustic handclaps and catchy hook, ''your life is over'' - is also pretty cool.
But after that hope is repeatedly dashed – the promisingly-titled Joset Of Nazareth's Blues is in fact a smattering of indecipherable screamy vocals over good, albeit wasted, harmonica. No Future never escapes dirgey beginnings - compared to No Future Pt II, it should have been left on the shelf.
Penned in the gap between high school and college, The Airing Of Grievances' song titles are sprinkled with scholarly references. The content is wholly autobiographical – but how relevant will it be outside the pleasantly suburban setting of Glen Rock? This is a backdrop frustratingly close to, yet miles away from, big cool NYC.
The band say they want to be seen as real human beings rather than worshipped as gods of rock. Well at the moment, they're a little too real – read also geeky, bog standard and normal. But if they work at polishing their inner rock star, Titus Andronicus could just be onto something.