“Okay I think by now we’ve established/Everything is inherently worthless”
Back with their blue-collar Jersey take on punk rock, the beer-soaked nihilism of Titus Andronicus’ follow up to the epic strides of The Monitor, is on full display, right out of the gate. Except this time they’ve traded their Springsteensian shambolics for varied and strong bits of 50′s doo wop and rock-and-roll as well as 90′s emo, before that became a dirty word – think 1994 Weezer. While the 50′s sections add some silly fun, as do one-lyric songs like “Titus Andronicus vs. The Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO)” and “Food Fight!,” Local Business is at its best when acerbically attacking the vain hypocrisy and inflated sense of self-importance in “a deluge of hipsters” (including self-aware singer Patrick Stickles) or belting about working-class struggle. One prime example of the latter: “Don’t tell me I was born free!” from “In a Small Body.” As for the former, this could well be a Titus Andronicus Manifesto:
It’s all true, isn’t it? There’s no real altruism, kid
It’s just a new set of clothes on the same old selfishness
Out walking the streets looking for these alleged elegant truths
It’s just me, lonely me, and the other relevant dudes
Arrogant enough to believe this is developing news
While fans may find Local Business doesn’t quite match the firepower of The Monitor, it continues to experiment with multiple key changes per song and the eight-minute epic thread, peaking in the last three-minute breakdown of “My Eating Disorder.” And even if TA are a bit below some of their peers in musicianship, Local Business is just as honest as its well-loved predecessor, with plenty of mid-tempo pop-punk to keep you moving all the while.