Titus Andronicus 

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Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles knows how to tickle your thinker. He better, because if your rock and roll outfit is gonna do that mid-tempo rocking, there needs to be something special for listeners to grab onto besides hot licks and references to female erogenous zones. Stickles goes big by opening the album with the lines, "I think by now we've established everything is inherently worthless / and there's nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose." If that's too much of a bummer for you, no big deal, plenty of fun's in the tunes themselves.

Tracks range from two to nearly 10 minutes, with catchy sing-a-long choruses, a trio of guitarists joyously playing hooks and enough musical borrowing to remind you of everyone from The Replacements to RVIVR to Jackson Browne to The Hold Steady, and even Iron Maiden (sort of). One of the better tracks, "Still Life with Hot Deuce On Silver Platter," is a nimbly assembled number that worms its way into your ear with the refrain, "Here it goes again / I hear you took it to another level." The song itself illustrates Titus Andronicus taking it next level, too.

Titus Andronicus plays the VFW Tue., Sept. 3, with Tweens. Doors open at 9 PM, show at 10. $8/$12 for 18–20.

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