A Productive Cough is a prime example of an album absolutely drowning in its influences. The opener, “Number One (in New York),” starts the album out on an incredible high note. The song is a hypnotic slow-burner that, whilst owing an obvious debt to the Boss, sounds like a logical extension of [email protected]
‘s over-the-top, anthemic punk. However, things go downhill fast after that. “Real Talk” borrows it’s classic barroom melody from standards past, and does not use it all that well, while“Above the Bodega” is their impression of The Clash circa London Calling. “(I’m) Like a Rolling Stone” is literally a straight cover of “Like a Rolling Stone” with the pronouns changed to first person. It works about as well as you’d think. “Home Alone” is just an AC/DC song but slowed down so that it’s eight minutes long. That, too, is as riveting as it sounds. On A Productive Cough, it seems that Stickles just really lost his way and looked to the greats for inspiration. While that is not a bad idea, he seems to have simply stolen their ideas instead of synthesizing them into something new. In the process, he has created what is easily the worst Titus Andronicus album to date.