When Titus released their debut The Airing of Grievances two years ago I was totally drawn into their mix of punk and shoegaze. It was a band that simply combined most of the elements I love from both genres in a totally unique way. So it is fair to say, I was more than excited to hear of their latest release titled The Monitor (out from XL Recordings). This one is however a bit different.
First of, the album is a reference to the American Civil War. From its title (USS Monitor was the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy) to its ending track The Battle of Hampton Roads (the battle between the Monitor and the CSS Virginia) and perhaps even to the album's duration (65 minutes...the civil war ended in 1865), everything revolves around the Civil War. In this epic journey Patrick Stickles invites more than a few friends to help out (Hold Steady, Double Dagger, Vivian Girls, Ponytail, Spider Bags, Hallelujah the Hills, Wye Oak, the Felice Brothers, Deer Tick and Dinowalrus) and sets the pace with anti-punk tracks lasting more than 6 minutes each. But don't be fooled by all this Civil War references (backed up by bagpipes and fiddles), lyrics such as The enemy is everywhere, It's still us against them, You'll always be a loser and Funny that we’re doing car bombs after all of these years are obviously about today's fucked up world and not simply another history lesson. The Monitor is a highly ambitious project, which may not be for the everyday listen but it definitely managed to pull it off perfectly!