Published Jul 29, 2016Titus Andronicus are clearly having a hell of a good time on S+@dium Rock: Five Nights at the Opera. The new live album chronicles the New Jersey punk band's 2015 five-night, sold out stay at New York City's Shea Stadium ("the longest-running active all-ages DIY space," according to a press release).
It opens with the raucous "Dimed Out," on which the synchronized shouts and jabbing punk chords sound rowdy and visceral. Same goes for the more churning, downtempo rhythms of "Lonely Boy," which build up from a quiet beginning to a triumphantly grinding guitar solo as bawdy piano plays throughout.
And while the band clearly have a penchant for aggressive guitar, shouted choruses and thunderous drums, there are also plenty of subtler moments on S+@dium Rock; midway track "Sun Salutation" begins with a call and response refrain that's skeletal to the point of being haunting. It's followed by "No Future Part V: In Endless Dreaming," which starts with a piano-laced lyrical intro that borders on spoken word before the guitar closes for a cathartic climax.
"I Lost My Mind" begins with an a cappella refrain that reiterates the insanity of the song's title, and that subdued opening juxtaposes strongly with the ensuing louder moments, like the crashing guitar riffs that evoke a high-speed highway collision. The best example of such subtleties, though, can be found on "69 Stones," which begins with a gently plucked bass intro and a harmonica solo, of all things, that refreshingly breaks up the onslaught of driving punk. It's a highly suitable palate cleanser, and a showcase for the band's range.
When frontman Patrick Stickles whispers "Thank you" at the end of "Fatal Flaw," uproarious applause breaks out as strongly as the bristling guitar solos from a moment before. At that moment, it's clear the audience is having every bit as much wild fun as the band. (Merge)