The Brutalist Bricks
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The Brutalist Bricks (Amazon Edition)
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New Jersey's TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS are back after a two year break with their fourth album and Matador debut, The Brutalist Bricks.This extraordinarily assured, wide ranging album explores new ground for Ted, showcasing his singer-song writer side while remaining emotionally and energetically true to his punk roots. From the thrilling opener and video track "The Mighty Sparrow" to the apocalyptic "Last Days," startling influences reveal themselves.
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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.
I'll avoid trying to rank where this one stacks up against the rest of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' catalog, but if you are a fan, this album won't disappoint. It is a good mix of tempos and styles, never staying in one place for too long and stays engaging throughout.
The Brutalist Bricks is a pretty catchy album - if you enjoyed Hearts of Oak, I think you'll enjoy this (that's what this album reminded me of). Particularly "Bottled in Cork." Great tune.
Other songs that I've replayed would be "Last Days," "Even Heroes Have To Die" and "Ativan Eyes."
Worth the purchase. More importantly, if you like his music, make an effort to go see him (a solo performance), or the whole band, live. And if you're a big fan, go say hello - just don't geek out too much. At the very least, go see the band to watch Chris Wilson go mental on the drum-kit - truly an impressive drummer.
Highlights: The Mighty Sparrow, The Last Days, Even Heroes, Bartomelo, and Ativan Eyes.
Comparisons: Elvis Costello and early Police.
Suggestions: Buy it now!
Not much more to say than that. Buy this one. It's their best, so far as I can tell.
Most recent customer reviews
While not lacking in momentum, BB suffers from Leo's increasingly generic writing (Bartomelo And The Buzzing Of Bees is the only track that fully reminds me of...Read more