Monday, September 7, 2009

015: Shucks (Finesse)

As the title obviously indicates, this is a follow-up to 011: Fuck Shyness. It was one of my better posts, all told. This will not be in the same echelon, unfortunately, but it does bear listening. So:

Friday night I dragged Hastie along to a concert at Il Motore, a strangely large and empty bar/concert hall in the vast empty elephant graveyard that is night-time Mont-Royal. I told him, "I don't fuck with the Blue Line," as we were making our way there. It's not really my thing, because it sucks.

What doesn't suck, though, is Titus Andronicus, the band we were going to see. Though the concert took forever to start, and was pretty sparsely attended, Titus brought the mosh. Frontman Patrick Stickles, the grime of a three-days-sans-shower-minimum head of hair (plus the least-groomed beard you've seen this side of the line between us and the homeless) and all, drunkenly told us that he was glad we were enjoying ourselves because "That's what it's all about, right?" Never before have I heard a less sincere-sounding celebration of happiness, which is fitting considering the tone of most of TA's lyrics, which are the the top end of the literate, angry and despairing spectrums.

That's not the only great thing about Titus Andronicus, though. They, as a band, represent the antithesis of the shyness and coyness I was complaining about in the aforementioned 011: Fuck Shyness. I'll break it down: their debut album, The Airing of Grievances, was nine tracks long—and still clocked in at over 45 minutes long. These guys know how to do long well—very well. Apart from short, punky bursts "My Time Outside the Womb" (2:30), "Joset of Nazareth's Blues" (2:55) and eponymous track "Titus Andronicus" (3:13), every song takes its sweet time growing, building, and then dominating.

The main reason? These guys don't underuse their great riffs. They let them build and then unleash them, and ride them just far enough so as to be completely satisfying without oversaturating. I've racked up a combined 500 plays from those 9 songs since I first downloaded The Airing of Grievances about 13 months ago and it remains my favourite album of the last two years by far. It's a modus operandi I wish more bands would employ, but which is made all the more satisfying here by its relative rarity. Do your ears a favour and check these guys out.