Album Review: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists – “The Brutalist Bricks”

Disclaimer: This is not a new album (it was released a little over a year ago) However, I’m writing this because it’s a great album and deserves a little promotion.

The first Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (who I will refer to as TL/rx) song I listened to made me skeptical. My regular playlist consisted of NOFX, Bad Religion, and the Dead Kennedys. I was never one for this indie-mod-rock sort of thing. But the more I listened, the more I found that this band had something to offer that drew me in.

Maybe it’s the fact that TL/rx isn’t your average indie band. Ted(vocals/guitar) has a diverse background that includes punk, hardcore, and a touch of dub. Drummer James Canty brings a colorful mix of rock genres to the table as well. The group finds a way to blend their individual sounds together in a way that, well, in a way that just sounds good. This album, “The Brutalist Bricks,” is a perfect example of that blend.

The album pumps a subtle current of punk rock under the lighter stuff throughout the album, starting right from the get-go with “The Mighty Sparrow.” It’s a solid opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

Tempos change, guitars go acoustic, and the volume fluctuates, but there’s still a certain energy that holds throughout the entire album. From start to finish, you can tell that these dudes are really into what they are playing. And in the sometimes repetitive indie rock genre, that’s something rare and refreshing.

Personally, my favorite tracks are “The Mighty Sparrow” and “Bottled In Cork.” The latter has a pretty funny music video, too, featuring comedians Paul Tompkins and John Hodgman (of The Daily Show). The whole thing is a not-too-subtle jab at Green Day, and I enjoyed it.

I still listen to NOFX, Bad Religion, and the Dead Kennedys, and I doubt there will be a day when that stuff gets old for me. But, thanks to “The Brutalist Bricks,” I’ve adopted Ted Leo and the boys to my playlist.

**The Album Reviews published on Dying Scene are written and submitted by fans of punk music, just like you. If you disagree with an album’s rating, feel free to voice your opinion and give it your own rating in the comments. If you’d like to submit your own review do it here.

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Comments 5

  • This album is pure garbage. I really, REALLY wanted to shut it off halfway through the first song, but I have a thing where I HAVE to listen to the entire album.
    Just terrible.
    I really wish people would just get over this guy. He’s nothing special at all… and he’s a fucking prick.

    The Fenian Reply:

    Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

    adriel Reply:

    UP THE PUNX! Call out the posuer punx! Good work son.

    StraightToHell82 Reply:

    I don’t give a shit if he (or anyone) is “punk” or not… but I’m allowed to call out “garbage” when I hear it.
    This is fucking garbage. If you took his dick out of your mouth for more than 5 minutes maybe you’d realize that.

  • Gonna get written off as “hipster punk” because its out on matador, but this shit is really great. Ted Leo’s amazing voice mixed in with some great mid-tempo punk. Ted Leo is one of the true nice guys in punk and scared me when he hinted at retiring awhile ago. Hope the next record can be as good as this.

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