As of late Titus Andronicus have been conducting genre experiments, and unlike the early critical acclaim that accompanied the heft and scuzz of their concept albums, these newer works have mostly been met with a series of shrugs. An Obelisk, the band’s sixth full album release in the past ten years, seems to be the result of combining these experiments with the punk that was always beneath their background.

The fans that stuck with them over the years and through the sometimes difficult terrain of last year’s A Productive Cough will be delighted with moments on An Obelisk, like the Irish punk feel of that end riff on ‘Hey Ma’ and the simplicity of Patrick Stickles’ snarl on the rip roaring ‘Beneath the Boot’, which effectively conveys his twitchy state of being in under two minutes.

Pummelling “Oi” punk anthems are in the mix here, as is the aggressively lazy drawl that makes Stickles one of the most unique vocalists around, but they’ve pulled from both their back catalogue and their influences and there’s a decidedly classic feel to the guitar parts on ‘Troubleman Unlimited’. Heck there’s even melodic classic pop backing vocals to ‘The Lion Inside’, a track that sees Stickles trying to resolve his multiple personalities in a world that’s not accepting of them all.

Much has been said of Bob Mould’s influence here as producer, and sure it’s there, but anyone who’s seen Titus Andronicus live knows they’ve always had that urgency, that clarity of confrontation and now they’ve finally put it to record. An Obelisk isn’t a basic album by any means, but it is an identifiable and defiant reaction to the world around us, and Mould has helped Stickles’ vision remain unfiltered and unaffected by studio trimmings.

Lyrically this is the band’s most fiercely direct album about the ills of our world; enter the on the nose ‘(I Blame) Society’, which sees Stickles comment on the “hostile game” he sees society playing, but he doesn’t just stop there. On ‘Within The Gravitron’ he turns his sights on not just the elite, but humanity as a whole: “Oh, why is man obsessed with making something die?/ I’ll tell you why, to cast the false illusion of their might.” His ability to deliver lines with both a sense of defeat and vile disgust is, as ever, electrifying.

An Obelisk is not quite as statuesque as it wants to be, though it does demonstrate the band’s ethos in a tightly-wound package, and is a solid addition to a repertoire that continues to make a Titus Andronicus release unmissable.