|Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - 'The Brutalist Bricks' (Matador Records US)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Friday, 16 April 2010 05:30|
Now, this is why I love Über Röck. Albums by bands that I've never heard of turn up in PO Box 666 and knock; my socks off, my dick in the dirt, my jaw to the floor and many other clichéd things that music reviewers are meant to write when they get excited over a shiny disc that they really like.
Guess what? I really like this, the fourth album from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Coming from the East Coast post-hardcore scene of the late Eighties and, via the bands Citizen's Arrest, Animal Crackers and Chisel, Leo arrives in 2010 with his first release for Matador Records US. And what a great album it is - thirteen songs that showcase an acute social awareness wrapped around perfectly formed power pop that, like so many other releases of its kind, owe a huge debt to vintage Elvis Costello.
While the punk rock past might now be more or less consigned to attitude, the ghost of the genre haunts proceedings with songs like 'Bottles In Cork', 'Where Was My Brain' and that subtle Pistols picking in 'Even Heroes Have To Die', the influence of Costello, the real king, is mainlined - check out the wonderfully titled 'Turberculoids Arrive In Hop' for perfect-sounding proof. Elvis aside, there is a severe British vein running through 'The Brutalist Bricks'. Remember the glorious time when the UK charts were full of great acts like The Jam and The Undertones and pop music never sounded more vital? Well, that feeling has been resurrected and crammed onto a compact disc that has absorbed all the best parts of the best bands in history and now calls out to you!
At times I'm reminded of the Gods of power pop Jellyfish purely because of that US band paying homage to UK acts thing, I guess. Owsley too. And Jonny Polonsky. Who? Oh, you savages....
'The Brutalist Bricks', coloured with the biggest hooks and effortlessly cool, is the dark horse that has gatecrashed my album of the year party and might just walk away with my girl. Great.