Review: Titus Andronicus – “The Monitor”
As in 2001 Lift to Experience investigated the intersection between Texas and Jerusalem, so here in 2010 Titus Andronicus maps the routes running through the American Civil War and contemporary New Jersey. And they discover that tramps like them, baby they were born to die. This is E-Street Band New Jersey, but with Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis leading the sides, Walt Whitman nursing the injured and William Lloyd Garrison leading the calls for emancipation.
Proceedings begin in the foreign territory of Massachusetts, out on the highways and out by the powerline with the radio on, and tear ass with no small amount of loathing of self and other for the Garden State Parkway, for Mahwah, for bars and parties and drugstores and pisspots and “The Battle of Hampton Roads”. Just where the borders lie between the new New England of Titus Andronicus and the torn-apart land of 1861-1865 remains blurred and shifting across the hour, and the music strikes tones from the opening gusto of the Boss to the Irish-punk-folk lilt of the Pogues, constantly laced through with snapping military snares, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “John Brown’s Body” (same tune, different anthems). Glory, glory, hallelujah, you’ll always be a loser and the enemy is everywhere… this is an album as blistering and intense as it is intelligent and weird and wonderful.