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The Brutalist Bricks

The Brutalist Bricks

March 8, 2010

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: March 8, 2010
  • Label: Matador
  • Copyright: 2010 Matador Records Limited
  • Total Length: 45:05
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00397F68C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,576 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Suggestions: Buy it now!
R. Fenimore
It is a good mix of tempos and styles, never staying in one place for too long and stays engaging throughout.
C. Mack
This is a great listen all the way through and all the songs stand out by themselves.
MFP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Mack on March 10, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For Ted Leo fans, "Shake the Sheets" is a good comparison starting point for "The Brutalist Bricks", both are straightforward political punk albums. Leo's foray into unabashed pop music on "Living With The Living" seems like a distant memory for most of this album as the guitars and political lyrics dominate.

The album opens up with the excellent opening single "The Mighty Sparrow." The song shows off Leo's singing abilities, manages to be catchy without an actual chorus and contains two false endings, all in a little over two and a half minutes. Next, "Mourning In America" is a blistering rocker in typical Leo fashion with the driving guitars leading the way. "Ativan Eyes" and "Even Heroes Have To Die" come next, both a little slower paced than the two opening tracks, but both are fun, if not terribly memorable. "The Stick" follows, it is as loud and fast as anything Leo has done, a power packed track coming in under two minutes.

The track that is perhaps in the "Living With The Living" mold more than any other on this album, "Bottle in Cork", is also, surprisingly, one of the best. The sound is light and breezy, reminding me of more than a few tracks off of their last album, and it is very enjoyable. The rest of the album continues switching between faster ("Woke Up Near Chelsea", "Where Was My Brain?") and slower ("One Polaroid A Day", "Bartomelo and the Buzzing of Bees"). Over this stretch, "Tuberculoids Arrive in Hop" deserves note for being an extremely slow, stripped-down piece with some interesting vocal parts, not typical Ted Leo at all. "Gimmie the Wire" is a great rocker, one of the standouts of the album. "Last Days" finishes things off, it is another strong tune on an album full of them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tom Birkenstock on June 19, 2010
Format: Audio CD
In his anthemic, chorus crushing song, "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward," Billy Bragg sings, "Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is/I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses." Within the narrative of the song, the question is posed to Billy during the last call moments at a pub, and it carries a sense of drunk cynicism. It is also the question that Ted Leo, a musician deeply influenced by Billy Braggs punk and politics, has been posing to himself, both in song and interviews, for most of his career. Can an artist deliver the complications of politics through the streamlined joys of a pop melody? It's a question that every artist who trades in choruses and hooks that go straight for the mainline must ask. After all, if politics, as the philosopher once said, are an ideology that separates the individual from his or her real condition, then can the pop music, with its inherent brevity and disposability, perform the work of impacting a listener's consciousness enough to make these conditions known?

At times Ted Leo has suggested in interviews that pop music can't accomplish this kind of consciousness shifting, but, rather, all it can hope to do is preach to the converted. This tension between wanting to craft a political anthem within the confines of pop music shifts to the forefront of his latest album, The Brutalist Bricks, and is perhaps best exemplified by the song "Ativan Eyes." The song begins with a call to action, sprinkled with a little Karl Marx, but, before even the first chorus, abruptly shifts into the idioms of a love song: "The industry's out of touch / The means of production are now in the hands of the worker / But I just want to be touched by your expert hands.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By MFP on March 9, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I thought Hearts of Oak was really great but the last few releases were lacking something, but not this one. This is a great listen all the way through and all the songs stand out by themselves. I compare Ted to a modern day Elvis Costello or Graham Parker and this could be his This Years Model or Squeezing Out Sparks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Trujillo on April 10, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I'll admit I'm a big fan of TLRX and was patiently waiting for this release after 2007's Living with the Living. As with any favorite band you're always a little scared; will I like the new album? Will I be disappointed? Will it make me long for the classics? I can assure you that TLRX is back in great form with The Brutalist Bricks. The sound is not as experimental as on Living; there are no funk or reggae inspired tracks here but instead a more stripped down sound. Even though it seems Ted is going back to his roots the songs are fresh, inspired and as always meaningful.

The album is very balanced mixing in edgy punk sounds like "Mourning in America", "The Stick" and "Where Was My Brain" with Ted's classic Punk Pop like The "Mighty Sparrow", "Bottled in Cork", "Ativan Eyes" and "Bartomelo And The Buzzing Of Bees". Seriously, there's not a weak song on the album. "One Polaroid a Day" and "Even Heroes have to Die" are as catchy as I've ever heard. Polaroid is the first time I've heard Ted lower his voice instead of using his classic falsetto. You won't be disappointed in this album

A great live act too, TLRX just had a ton of energy on stage. While I was cheering when Ted went into "Me and Mia" and "Timorous Me" I was just excited to hear the new songs.
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