Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2010-04-12

Ted Leo has been making a big punk noise for nearly 20 years now and has seen many punk scenes flower and die. He, however, has always kept rocking to the sizable cult following he has in the US, keeping his hand in since 1999 with The Pharmacists. His brand of full force, straight-ahead punk-pop is undimmed on this, their sixth album. It's first four tracks, 'The Mighty Sparrow', 'Mourning in America', 'Ativan Eyes' and 'Even Heroes Have to Die', all contain clear bright riffs and massive hooks before fifth track, 'The Stick', changes tack with an agitated, double-time strop which takes him back to his hardcore punk roots, along with some queasily discordant feedback noise. Apart from this and a couple of other diversions, however, it's pretty much business as usual as far as the music is concerned. Much of the music, particularly the FM rock howl of 'Woke Up Near Chelsea', doesn't sound too far from latter day Green Day, although its mercifully free of their unattractive pomp and grandeur.

The Brutalist Bricksis also peppered with lyrical references to Leo's socialist beliefs. "The means of production are now in the hands of the workers!" he sings on 'Atvian Eyes', which aptly sounds like it could be the handy work of The Manic Street Preachers. Meanwhile, on 'Woke Up Near Chelsea' he howls "We all got a job to do/ and we all hate God." Brave stuff for an American artist to be singing in the current climate, even if it's doubtful The Brutalist Bricks will see Leo reach a larger audience.

Richard Morris

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