CD review: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Brutalist Bricks (with audio)

From Brutalist's opening phrase, "When the café doors exploded," Leo takes no prisoners. The LP is a tightly wound and at times frenetic mash of crunchy garage-punk riffs and restless drums, overlaid with Leo's alternately gritty and soaring voice and his polysyllabic lyrics. Tracks like "The Mighty Sparrow," "Ativan Eyes" and "Bottled in Cork" contain absolutely no original ideas, and yet that won't stop you from slapping your dashboard in joy when they come coursing through the car speakers. The performances are just that enthusiastic (out March 9 on Matador Records).


Check out "Even Heroes Have to Die" from The Brutalist Bricks below.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: \"Even Heroes Have to Die\"

Ted Leo's art is indissolubly bound in my mind to the first administration of George W. Bush and the Iraq War. Leo tunes, like 2003's "The High Party" and "The Ballad of the Sin Eater," provided evidence that our indie rock heroes could still offer rousing and enraged commentary on the state of the union, while 2004's "Shake the Sheets" and "Walking to Do" tricked naive me into thinking Americans might throw the bums out of office in that year's elections.

And while it sucks that the "shitty war" Leo so memorably sang about in "Party" is still raging, one listen to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' excellent new album, The Brutalist Bricks, shows that without a doubt, Leo is at his best when the world is going to hell.

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