Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
The Brutalist Bricks


3.5
great

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
March 8th, 2010 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's just giving us more of a good thing.

In many ways, new album The Brutalist Bricks is merely 2007’s Living With The Living refined and reborn, cleaning up Ted Leo And The Pharmacists’ reggae-punk-indie conglomerate of sorts to a sporty, affable product worthy of your friendship. The band has been doing this type of thing meticulously well for the past ten or so years, peaking early in their career of “intelligent” pop punk creation with the 60s-inspired, sentimental shout outs of The Tyranny of Distance and the clean-edge follow-up found in Heart of Oaks that followed shortly two years thereafter. Settling with a set of sonic tools that has already gotten them farther than many, Indiana’s Ted Leo and his group of drug distributors have refused to angle off their blend of thoughtful lyrics and profound power pop, never slipping to the level of mediocrity, while not yet topping their 2001 career peak. This album, like Living With The Living and Shake The Sheets that came before it, is simply the band giving us what we have come to expect.

Highlight “Atavan Eyes” is the thesis of Ted Leo And The Pharmacists in recorded form: pop sensibilities – a Cheap Trick-esque melody, more specifically for this track - well-spoken lyrics, and an inoffensive set of musicians that flirt with reggae grooves, punk-like drive, and indie-rock, smart-talk rythms. The voice of front man Ted Leo has a foreign twang to it, perhaps not wholly British but with Scottish undertones that disguise itself in American arrogance. ‘Well even heroes have to die,’ finds the singer slurring each bar with realism-tinged happiness – odd, yes - only to recollect after a tight solo from guitarist James Canty with, ‘Working away until we miss the passing of the time,’ for the tie-in to summarize his wasting relationship, as well as to give a nod to the general work-a-holic American society. As this track would indicate, Ted Leo has a tendency to two-way his lyrical subjects; his music, having more of an incentive for listeners to come back and piece together the double connotations, is arguably better for it too.

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists voice their opinion of modern, spiritually chaotic times on one of the most anthemic cuts they have yet to record to studio, “Woke Up Near Chelsea”:’Well, we all got a job to do / We all hate God / But we all got a job to do,’ calls for unity instead of pointing fingers at divine figures, building behind a steady, one-note piano prodding that later escalates with tension and Ted Leo’s grit to muddied distortion with a James Younge-styled chorus melody. “One Polaroid A Day” follows thereafter with its matter-of-fact, bluesy groove and a reserved, I’m-so-cool vocal delivery from front man Leo. “Where Is My Brains”, however, knocks the flow out of place for a Green Day’s Shenanigans-esque punk exercise, having us wondering exactly where was the band’s quality songwriting on that one.

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists apologize for the unnecessary deviation found in the ninth track with the very unique cut – at least for Ted Leo and The Pharmacist, that is – “Tuberculoids Arrive In Hop.” The acoustic-based, Bob Seger “Turn The Page”-throwback is really only setting the stage for the Yellowcard-like guitar/fiddle noodling of “Gimme The Wire”, though – yes, I said Yellowcard; suffice it to say, coupled with the fittingly conclusive “Last Days”, the band couldn’t have closed this album off in a better way: catchy, frantic, and probably indirectly foreshadowing of a similar-sounding album that we will probably hear from this band given two years' time. Ted Leo, James Cant, and drummer Chris Wilson – there is currently not a bassist since Dave Lerner left the band in 2007 – are men who never seem to disappoint, but yet, haven’t quite been able to reach the same heights of quality of the band’s earliest material. Still, The Brutalist Bricks is a slightly refined tweaking of the band’s concoction of sounds, producing an album that flows easily on most occasions and offers reason to return for more, while at the same time, never surprising anyone in the least. You won’t be wowed, I suppose, but you definitely won’t be disappointed either.



Recent reviews by this author
There Will Be Fireworks The Dark, Dark BrightBring Me the Horizon Sempiternal
As I Lay Dying AwakenedTim Hecker Harmony in Ultraviolet
Thousand Foot Krutch The End Is Where We BeginOwen I do perceive.
user ratings (34)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
March 8th 2010


5803 Comments


stream: http://www.myspace.com/tedleo

SeaAnemone
March 8th 2010


20518 Comments


I didn't know this existed... I'm so excited.

Digging: Pharmakon - Bestial Burden

danielewski
March 8th 2010


56 Comments


probably quite sad but i've always been put off these guys because their lastfm pic is so not cool

PuddlesPuddles
March 8th 2010


4784 Comments


Hey cool
Didn't know a new Ted was coming out this year!

Ponton
Emeritus
March 8th 2010


5803 Comments


Stream has been up for a few days. I'm glad that this brought the album to your attention.

IRAI
March 8th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

listening to the stream now, good review.

Ted Leo's a fave of mine.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


8371 Comments


amazing review Jared - I'm stunned. This is the kind a review has to be: descriptive, full of big-but-not-pretentious words, with good similes, and an overall good flow. Awesome job mate, seems like you've already made a progression to a whole new level thanks to your staff positions on those other sites.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


10494 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

glad you reviewed this, i was going to but found it impossible :/ you nailed it!

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Ponton
Emeritus
March 8th 2010


5803 Comments


Thanks, Styles and Rudy. I've been trying hard to get better.

Kiran
Emeritus
March 8th 2010


6001 Comments


really great review, jared, for an album ive been really looking forward to

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


8371 Comments


I've been trying hard to get better
And it shows =)

AggravatedYeti
March 8th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

blargablahblargh! I want this album so bad.
ted leo is my hero

great review Jared, makes the anticipation for this that much worse, thanks. :D

but oh wait -- myspace stream? a'whythankyou.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 8th 2010


5803 Comments


Hope you like it, yeti and thank you. These guys never seem to disappoint.

timbo8
March 8th 2010


618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wasn't too big into Living with the Living, so I hope this is better

JimTesta
March 9th 2010


1 Comments


Not a bad review, but how can you confuse Ted's well-noted Celtic influences for Scottish? Wars have started over less. And while he went to college at Notre Dame, he's from New Jersey, not Indiana.


Ponton
Emeritus
March 9th 2010


5803 Comments


Sorry man but he was actually born in South Bend, Indiana (September 11, 1970). He grew up in New Jersey.

Also, I said his voice sounds like it has a Scottish accent to it. I never described the music as that.

Thanks for your comment though.

mvdu
March 10th 2010


606 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

There's one big problem with this album - the melodies. It's like he tried to up the punk factor of his power pop, and everything turned out very un-melodic.

AggravatedYeti
March 10th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

best Ted Leo since Hearts Of Oak imo.

and I agree 'Woke Up Near Chelsea' is epic, as well as 'Bartomelo And The Buzzing Of Bees'

timbo8
March 19th 2010


618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm enjoying this. Not up to par with earlier work, but definitely a step up from his last record.

AggravatedYeti
July 19th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this more and more every time I listen to it.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy