Stickles’ band, which has rotated members at a furious pace since its 2005 inception, conjures any number of guitar-driven acts —from The Replacements and Neutral Milk Hotel to Thin Lizzy and even Springsteen — but does so with a ramshackle grace all its own. The quartet has released three full-length records since 2008, the most recent of which, last year’s Local Business, opens with this existential lyrical throw-down: “OK, by now I think we’ve established/Everything is inherently worthless/That there’s nothing in the universe/With any kind of objective purpose.” Yet Stickles delivers such seemingly pretentious stuff with a joyous kick in his voice, as if he’s laughing into the void.Then there’s “Food Fight!” The track, clocking in at just more than a minute, comes off like a drunken lark, a band reacting to its holier-than-thou reputation.
polar-opposite of album-closer “Tried to Quit Smoking,” an odd, nearly
10-minute slow-burner in which Stickles confesses: “It’s not that I
wanted to hurt you/I just didn’t care if I did” — a sentiment that could
stand as Titus Andronicus’ reason for being.
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