Titus Andronicus: A More Perfect Union

Dazed Digital premiere the first video off the magnificent new album from New Jersey’s noisemakers, Titus Andronicus

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Photo by Bao Nguyen
They don’t make albums like this anymore. By which we mean, a sweeping 65 minute concept album loosely based on the American Civil War but really about the frustrations of living in modern day New Jersey. Who would have thought a key figure of the modestly ambitious lo-fi scene would go on to make one of the most incandescent albums of the year so far? But that’s exactly what Titus Andronicus have done with The Monitor. Named after a US warship, the band set their stall early on, quoting Abraham Lincoln - “As a nation of free men, we will live forever, or die by suicide” before launching into the thunderous guitar riffs of ‘A More Perfect Union’. On the songs, lead singer Patrick Stickles manages to make not just his lungs but also his heart, spleen and guts to holler in unison, bringing his searingly honest lyrics to the forefront. But his literary leanings are counterbalanced by the visceral thrills of rock and roll. The grandiose sentiments may make a passing nod to the legacy of fellow New Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen, but the righteous rage on display is all their own.

A wealth of guest stars (from The Hold Steady, Vivian Girls and Ponytail) can’t detract from the fact that this is Titus Andronicus’ show. Teetering on the edge between overblown bombast and bloody-minded brilliance, the album culminates in the widescreen epic, ‘The Battle of Hampton Roads’, which concludes its 14 minutes with a rousing bagpipe solo of all things. It would be patently ridiculous, were it not so affecting. It’s hard to think of another band that has managed this union of catharsis and redemption since Neutral Milk Hotel released their magnum opus, In an Aeroplane, Under The Sea. Here Dazed Digital exclusively premiere the first video from the album – ‘A More Perfect Union’ as directed by Claire Carré of Partizan. Says Carré, “I wanted the video to capture the emotion of freedom, revolution, idealism and the search for something more- core passions that pushed men and women forward in the early days of America- embodied again now in the cast of the video. I was also inspired by Godard's Weekend and Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, which both have people living in the woods in their own societies.”


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