In these modern times, the world needs Ted Leo. Both on good days (Congress gave U.S. citizens health care forever!) and bad (My girlfriend’s neighbor lost her dog yesterday!). On The Brutalist Bricks, Leo and his backing band The Pharmacists blend the personal and political yet again on this, their sixth solo album of Celtic punk ‘n’ power pop songs. My Catholic guilt is smacking me something fierce for ever doubting he didn’t have another album in him.
While Leo’s sound has remained consisted throughout his career – Joe Strummer, Elvis Costello, Paul Weller, and Billy Bragg in a musical orgy – there are slight alterations that differentiate his albums. Brutalist Bricks is more concise than the double album-length Living With the Living and less indebted to Thin Lizzy’s guitars than The Tyranny of Distance… which I guess puts it in league with the similarly stripped down punk fervor of Shake the Sheets.
In some ways, the record is unfocused. The songs don’t always segue gracefully. The last two or three tracks could have been excised in favor of a tighter album. The intro to “Bottled Up in
But these problems are slight. Bricks is yet another stellar record from Leo. Remember when I knocked “Bottled Up in
The first 10 tracks of the album are also great. “The Mighty Sparrow” opens the album with Leo’s trademark nervous energy, complemented by drummer Chris Wilson’s appropriately frenetic beats. “Mourning in
The Brutalist Bricks put a spring in my step before