Published Mar 26, 2010The first thing you'll hear about the second Titus Andronicus album is that it is a concept album based on the Civil War. From the blue-tinged 19th century photo gracing the cover to the Abraham Lincoln sound bites, The Monitor appears to be a history lesson. It's not.
"Yeah, some people seem to get the wrong idea about the sort of Civil War concept album that it is. People think it's a narrative taking place in the 1860s, which it's not," explains front-man Patrick Stickles. "It's really taking place in the '00s."
Stickles chose to illustrate his New Jersey-bred suburban frustration by using this historical metaphor. Such a thing is ripe for criticism. "It's 65 minutes long, so I can't deny that it's enormously self-indulgent," he admits. "But why should we deny ourselves? We believe in the validity of our intentions, so to hell with anybody that says it's inadvisable. We did what we found in our hearts to be best. That's the only real currency in this world, isn't it?"
Titus Andronicus' self-indulgence wasn't limited to Stickles' narrative. On the album, the band's distorted, punk ruckus was swollen by pianos, accordions, fiddles and bagpipes. Stickles says it was all part of going the distance. "I always have been a big fan of the kitchen sink arrangement," he says. "There was some pretty self-indulgent behaviour going on but I like to think it all served a concise purpose."