“Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter”
This is the first hint of Local Business being something new. This song is damn near approachable. Building, lilting. Friendly. This is also the first Thin Lizzy I heard on the album. It wouldn’t be the last. Halfway through this song… it starts to sound like anybody’s song. If it wasn’t for Patrick’s distinct lyrics, this would feel like a Hold Steady song. That’s not an insult.
“Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus”
This. This is a Titus Andronicus song through and through. Staccato rhythm, screaming, a repeated chorus. This is what I showed up for. I dearly love this song. Echoes of the third song on The Monitor for sure. There’s still that Thin Lizzy sound. That whine. It’s good. Just different. Coming from The Monitor you can really hear the increased production quality (intentional or not).
This is a short song. It’s kind of dumb. The only lyrics are “Food Fight!” There are pianos. I don’t care for it.
“My Eating Disorder”
I thought I’d hate this song. I talked last night about how Patrick has been open about his eating disorder. So let’s write a song about it! But it’s grown on me. Some very strong and clearly personal lyrics. And then… and then they go full Thin Lizzy. And then they go back to Titus Andronicus, screaming “Spit it out!” over and over. Unlike the banal songs on this album, this is some good stuff. It continues what I would call friendliness. It’s listenable to people who aren’t weirdos like me. I guess that’s a good thing. This is not as strong as “Oregon” and “In A Big City”.
“Titus Andronicus vs. The Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO)”
More Food Fight-esque quick nonsense. Very punky. Pop punk. I hate to write those those words. They physically hurt. There’s not a lot to say. I guess this and Food Fight separate My Eating Disorder from the rest of the album. Wish there was more to them.
“In a Big City”
Holy shit. If you only listen to one song on this thing, make this the one. Desperately love it. This is what I like about this band distilled into a song. This is their uniqueness, great lyrics, everything. I can’t say this loud enough. Watch the video too. Great fucking stuff.
Black hole open up wide
Yr lost son is coming inside
Spaceship? Or a lifeboat?
Put me out coach, I’m ready to float
“In a Small Body”
I don’t really know what to make of this. It’s…gentle. This is pretty good stuff though. There’s just a softness to it that you wouldn’t expect. But by this point on the album, I guess it makes some sense to be a little mellow.
“(I am the) Electric Man”
Damn it, guys. I’m trying here. This is not a bad song I read it’s about a time Patrick got electrocuted. Man. This song does very little for me, to be honest. It sounds so… Stones. Like heart-on-its-sleeve we want to write a Stones song. Here you go. A Stones song.
“Tried to Quit Smoking”
A slow dirge to end things. Last time it was Hampton Roads, which we’ve already established I dearly love. It was epic and rolling and changing. This is a downbeat, one tempo song. And it’s fantastic.
“It’s not that I don’t want to hurt you, It’s just that I don’t care”
There’s still that sense of.. simplicity here. This isn’t fancy at all. But it’s good. It doesn’t feel like a reach like the previous song. If after writing this I am not barred from seeing them live I look forward to hearing it live.
As a whole, I can’t sit here and say that this is their best album. Hell, it may be my third favorite of the three, and I haven’t even mentioned the first album until now. But if they are going to be something other than that band that I try to convince everyone I know is the best, then now is the time. This is the one to listen to. And they are clearly riding on a wave of sorts. Popping up on Grantland, Spin, etc. This is their chance to escape their orbit and ascend. Maybe I’ll hear a snippet of their song during a football game or something. I can totally see that. I hope they get that, get some scratch. Because this is a good album, made by competent people. It’s not the odd obsessive feeling thing that The Monitor was. It’s not the clangy noise of The Airing of Grievances. It’s a grown up album. That is at times shockingly normal. There are worse things to be, but I say quietly that there are also better.