Music Review: A shaky concept can’t overshadow the infectious energy of Titus Andronicus

Given the band’s affinity for energy and explosions, Titus Andronicus is often compared to Hüsker Dü and The Clash, but a better corollary might be The Who. Both bands specialize in sudden tonal shifts from bombast to sensitive soul-searching, and like The Who, Titus Andronicus caters in collections of songs that work together for a high concept. Not for nothing do the liner notes credit frontman Patrick Stickles as both the writer and director of this project.

In the case of The Most Lamentable Tragedy, the band’s fourth album and its first for Merge Records, the concept is particularly vague: According to the album’s notes, the record is an allegory about an “unnamed protagonist in an unspecified place and time.” Over the course of 29 tracks and 93 minutes, the double album follows this protagonist through existential crises, bouts of rage, periods of romantic longing, moments of …

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