Titus Andronicus: The Will to Live (Merge) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 29th, 2022  

Titus Andronicus

The Will to Live

Merge

Oct 05, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


In the 11 long years since their superlative calling card The Monitor, Patrick Stickles’ band Titus Andronicus have delivered a disparate clutch of albums, from the incredibly ambitious rock opera, 2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy to the raging, Bob Mould produced, An Obelisk from 2019. With the once revolving door of talent now formalized with a band lineup that’s lasted six years, and Stickles’ mental health apparently better than ever (“Lamictal is a hell of a drug,” he’s noted), we arrive at The Will to Live.

Here Titus sweat out a stream of classic rock, heavy with homage and warped into Stickles’ own idiosyncratic, idealized version of rock n’ roll. The Who-inspired “(I’m) Screwed” sees the mercurial frontman full-throated and roaring, “I find myself surrounded by wild-eyed men/I strike one down, two of them rise again.” His trademark desperate eloquence is equally voiced in the Old Testament thunder of “An Anomaly”—“If you want to see the devil, meet a man/And if you want to meet an angel, go to hell.”

“Give Me Grief” eases into power-pop and homes perhaps the funniest lines on the album: “I’m no fan of fantasy/But when I tried to beat the heat/The heat beat me, repeatedly.” “Baby Crazy” is a straight-up E-Street Band bop, while the joyous “All Through the Night” borrows Caravan’s “Love to Love You” and repurposes it as a folk-punk clarion call to joy, packed with crystalline guitar solos and uproarious gang chants. With the trials of the earlier songs overcome by our protagonist, we arrive at the glorious anthem “We’re Coming Back,” then resolve with the simple, plaintive piano blues of “69 Stones.”

Derivative it may be, and it’s certainly overindulgent in parts, but in using old tropes to tell fresh stories The Will to Live manages to be both rambunctious and reflective, resulting in a hearty, heady feast of rock n’ roll. (www.titusandronicus.net)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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