New Stuff: Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus

Remember my hyperbolic ode to Titus Andronicus’s second album The Monitor? Of course you don’t!

But if for some strange reason you read it, you would know I like Titus Andronicus for their energy, chanting, and patriotism (especially when they can spark nationalism in a raving grey-blood like me). I await new material with as much vigor as lead singer Patrick Stickles pours out of his weary copper pipes.

Alas! A new single! Syntactically, fans will be reminded of “Upon Viewing Brueghel’s ‘Landscape With the Fall of Icarus,” though really they sound only slightly similar. Their first album The Airing of Grievances focused mostly on their energy; their following effort mixed the energy with basic smatterings of American roots music. If this song is any indication of their new direction, it seems they will sacrifice energy to chase melodies.

They are not inherently wrong in doing so, even though their energy primarily gave them acclaim. They have successfully shed the screaming before, with good results (“Theme From Cheers”), and Sickles is a good guitarist and capable enough songwriter to have them heading in the right direction. “Oregon’s Landscape” doesn’t come close to profound work they released on The Monitor. The closest hint of previous work fans will find is the “built to last” chant/refrain that doesn’t nearly incite the same saloon fight mentality as “YOUR LIFE IS OVER!” But when compared to the field, it’s still an enjoyable listen. They have some work to do, but they have the talent to make it work.

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