Day 16: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks

16 Mar

The Mighty Sparrow

It’s always smart for a band to put their best song as the first track on an album.  It sucks the listener in, and makes ‘em much more likely to give the rest of the album a shot.  That’s certainly the case with Ted Leo’s The Brutalist Bricks.  Album opener The Mighty Sparrow is a great song, with infectious vocals and a catchy guitar riff that had me doing the hipster head bob right from the start.  Unfortunately, after that, the quality of the album started going down.

The Brutalist Bricks is very hit-or-miss.  There are plenty of songs that manage to capture the excitement and energy that come with the opener.  Songs like Even Heroes Have to Die and Bartolomeo and The Buzzing of Bees are examples of great standard rock songs, with energetic guitars, and great lyrics.  Unfortunately, for every great song on the album, there’s a boring Tuberculoids Arrive In Hop or Ativan Eyes.   If Ted Leo and his Pharmacists had trimmed some of the fat, they would have one solid record. That’s always been one of my pet peeves.  I can’t stand it when a band ruins a great album with a ton of filler.

Part of this could be my fault, I guess.  Bands always seem to make their best music early in their careers, and I picked the most recent album from a band that’s been around for more than a decade.  Maybe their earlier stuff is better; I just don’t know.  There’s no rule against listening to multiple albums by the same artist on Swole Ear, though, so expect more posts about these guys in the future.  I really want to like them.

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