Titus Andronicus, 'The Airing of Grievances' (Troubleman Unlimited)

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The Airing of Grievances
Critical Mass
Label: Troubleman Unlimited

by Sean Yeaton

On their debut album, this New Jersey quintet unfurls a series of banner-waving, punkish anthems (plus a couple of slow-burners) that, with its E Street Band–through-a-blender production, convey a raw, deeply palpable blue-collar sympathy. Patrick Stickles screams and moans amid the swirling, lo-fi racket, and although he sounds a helluva lot like Conor Oberst, this is no Bright Eyes knockoff. The Airing of Grievances is more inviting, fraternal, and widely referential. Stickles' lyrics ruminate on the countless ways the world, well, sucks much of the time, but not while you're immersed in these nine raging-with-life songs.

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