Artist: Ted Leo And the PharmacistsAlbum:
The Brutalist BricksRelease date: Out now via Matador RecordsRating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): BuyDownload: “The Mighty Sparrow” On “The Mighty Sparrow,” the opening track from his debut for Matador, Ted Leo sings “When the cafe doors exploded/I reacted to/Reacted to you.” One would think a bomb in a doorway would produce its own, independent reaction, but with Leo, it makes sense that he’d catch the nuances of his companion’s behavior amongst the chaos (be it literal or metaphorical, for that matter). Two things have shaped Leo into a valuable punk-minded, pop-rock artist over the course of his nearly 20 year-long career: strong, highly refined songwriting skills, and a deft touch with balanced instrumentation and arrangements. Few artists can toss pastoral acoustic strumming into the same mix with fuzzed-out keys and shotgun percussion without sounding unfocused, but Leo pulls it off. The new release includes razor-sharp renditions of material he’s been fine-tuning on the road, including crowd-pleasers “Where Was My Brain?” and “Bottled in Cork.”Ted Leo and the Pharmacists play Neumos on Friday, March 19.