It is undeniable that Titus Andronicus make one hell of a noise. At times it's sludgy; at times it's energetic and bouncy. There are even times when it is both of these things at the same time. Even when their sound can't decide what it wants to be, The Monitor is probably one of the most interesting and exciting albums of the year so far.
The first thing that hits you is the sheer force of the sound. It's so dense that it's easy to get immersed in all the music. This is never demonstrated better than in the atmospheric 'A Pot in Which to Piss'. Although this is not the most immediate song on the album, the gorgeous layers of guitars make it a real highlight. The song then goes into a fast paced, but slow burning epic just shy of nine minutes, packing in more ideas than some bands have in their entire career. It comes across like an overture for the greatest album you have ever heard. As do the album's other epics 'A More Perfect Union' and the spectacular album closer 'The Battle of Hampton Roads', which at almost a quarter of an hour is mind blowing. Any band that can hold your interest for that amount of time with one song has got to be worth their weight in gold.
When Titus Andronicus aren't making incredible epic songs, they're blasting you with equally as astounding punk tracks like 'Titus Andronicus Forever' and its counterpart '.And Ever'. These songs showcase a fun side and a versatility that so many bands forget is important these days.
However, at times the album sounds a little dated. The production values are notably 'lo-fi', and there are a number of fairly inaudible samples between songs, which are perhaps unnecessary. These are tiny criticisms though and perhaps it is the fact that this album is unwilling to do exactly what you want it to do and is content to carelessly do its own thing that gives it its charm.
Despite sounding dated, don't let it be said that this album is in any way some sort of throwback to another era. The Monitor takes a lot of influences from days gone by, but mixes them with some of the best bits of modern music. Nothing sums this album up better than the brilliant song 'Theme from 'Cheers''. It is raging but celebratory; it is sludgy but anthemic: Much like the rest of The Monitor, a truly rewarding experience.