Album Review: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, 'The Brutalist Bricks'

OLE-909 ted leo the brutalist bricks

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ music has always been about mixing other styles of rock on top of a solid punk foundation. The band’s latest effort, The Brutalist Bricks, follows that same principle all the way to become their most musically-diverse record yet. The album features everything from post-hardcore leanings on “The Stick” to Petty-esque guitar licks on “One Polaroid a Day.” The individual tracks also contain more musical breakdowns and tonal asides than those heard from the band in the past. However, even with the additional infusion of various influences, The Brutalist Bricks is still unmistakably a Ted Leo record, thanks mainly to Leo’s own inimitable voice, the biting lyrics, and the consistent indie-punk, driving song structure. For example, it is fairly easy to draw a straight line from “Better Dead than Lead” off of the band’s 2004 album, Shake the Sheets directly to The Brutalist Bricks‘ “Even Heroes Have to Die.” This is not a bad thing, though, as it is comforting to see a greatly talented band not feel the need to “re-invent” themselves on every album, but instead simply diversify their influences while keeping their core sound intact.

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