Published Jul 22, 2015The Most Lamentable Tragedy is not an easy record to experience. Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles felt it was necessary to release explanatory notes and handwritten lyrics, to be as clear as possible about its concept and story. Even with all those resources, TMLT is still an album that demands an almost academic approach to fully grasp the nuances of its story. But great art isn't great art because it's easy, and this 90-plus-minute, five-act rock opera inspired by Stickles' experience with manic depression is absolutely worth spending the time with.
Employing cinematic rock 'n' roll, punk, hardcore, post-rock, aural dream sequences and piano ballads, TMLT somehow, over its epic runtime, never falls prey to being too busy, bloated, or boring. New Titus classics like "Lonely Boy," "Mr. E. Mann" and "Come On, Siobhan" prove that, yes, if you want to, you can pick and choose what to listen to. But as a whole, the record doesn't contain one faux pas. An album with no filler is pretty rare in an era where a four-song EP usually has a throwaway track. That a monster like this is actually economical — all muscle, no fat — is like finding a unicorn.
If you truly immerse yourself in Titus Andronicus' magnum opus — and you should — closing track "Stable Boy" will break your heart. (Merge)