Album Review: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks

Ted Leo with his Pharmacists in tow release their sixth album their first on Matador Records.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks

Ted Leo - The Brutalist Bricks

RockOSaurus Says:

Ted Leo has been plugging away in the independent rock sphere for many a years now! With each new release comes a bunch of cracking tunes and outstanding pop-rock yet surprisingly he has never reached the mainstream.With The Brutalist Bricks he has produced yet another cracking album which is piled high with incessantly catchy tunes.

Opener The Mighty Sparrow is has a cool driving rock riff and Teds familiar high pitched poppy voice leading a mega-hummable vocal melody. Taking a step back towards more punky spiky guitars Ted has given this album more vigour and purpose. Guitar heavy tunes such as the alt-rocking Mourning In America, The Stick with its shambolic fuzz punk, three chord wonder Where Was My Brain and the high octane rush of Gimme The Wire..

This is not to say that the pop isn’t here in abundance too, Even Heroes Have To Die is a non-stop acoustic strummer with nifty electric guitar lines throw in for good measure, Bottles In Cork showcases Ted’s great way with words as you follow his antics and travels along the lyric sheet while you bop along to the infectious melody. Woke Up Near Chelsea is another example of classic songwriting, triumphant pianos & guitars melded with subtle non pretentious indieness while crucially retaining a huge pop appeal.

The Brutalist Brick is a perfect combination of Pop, Rock, Indie and Punk…if you like any of these genres then you should definitely give this album a try (BTW. I’ve purposely overlooked the terrible artwork).

Mr Flowers Says:

Brutalist Bricks adds even more songs to Ted Leo’s growing catalogue of catchy pop songs, with the ooohh ooowellls of Even Heroes Have To Die destined to be enthusiastically sung back at him at gigs to come.

It’s generally more of the same from Ted, but he does try to mix it up (very slightly) on a few tracks with reasonably good results: Mourning In America mixes the pop sensibilities with menacing bass notes in a kind of Mclusky-lite way. Bottled In Cork nicely introduces an acoustic guitar for the chorus with a Thin Lizzy style alternating note electric-guitar part, and Ted slows it down and adopts a deeper singing-style on One Polaroid A Day. Tuberculoids Arrive In Hop, an unconvincing foray into a fully acoustic song, is a low point but these are few and far between so we can let him off on that one.

There’s quite a few pop-rock gems on this album and proves to be a much more consistent offering from Ted Leo and his pharmaceutical friends, and the minimalistic design on the album artwork scores an extra point and ultimately a net recommendation for The Brutalist Bricks.

RockOSaurus: 8.5/10

MrFlowers: 8/10

DoesItRock Overall Score: 8.25/10


Listen to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks now on Spotify!

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