Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I was first introduced to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists through my Chilean indie-rock friend Carmen, who yelled at me (through text) that I hadn't heard him yet. I'd seen the high-praised reviews but it didn't seem to be "my thing." I was listening to a lot of Mogwai and The American Analog Set then and I didn't know if another indie-rock singer-songwriter with a "and the" in the band name was right for me.

I was wrong. I was so so wrong.

Ted Leo turned out to be exactly what I needed. The perfect band to start off a day (after coffee, of course). Huge load of energy, danceable melodies, speed-guitar that would make Jonny Greenwood proud, and verbose lyrics that tickle my writer's brain. I loved the band from the first song I heard, Heart of Oak's "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?" for it's ska-inspired rhythm and stretched-out-structure.

The new album, Shake the Sheets, due out in October, trades in the extra-credit outros and interludes of the previous albums for a more streamlined, more provocative, more exciting sound. The album passes in a heartbeat or a wink, so fast, so full, so quick, it leaves you wanting more (and more and more). Although I must admit I miss some of the more complex structures and stories of Heart of Oak and Tyranny of Distance, the songs here have a brief power like that of a short story or poem.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are a wonderfully fresh, wonderfully fun band that raises the indie rock flag and waves it like no other. I'd go so far as to say if you don't find yourself nodding your head and smiling to the below songs, you should go back to your Mariah Carey records. Dork.

Counting Down the Hours One of the highlights of the new album. Jovial, memorable. Be warned: Once you hear this, you'll want to listen to it again and again.

Under the Hedge A great song off The Tyranny of Distance. Almost a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. A sweet harmonious love-letter.

Bleeding Power (acoustic) This song is from Ted Leo's "Tell Balgeary, Belgury's Dead EP" while a full band version appears on the new album. This little acoustic piece showcases perfectly the stark, simple beauty of Ted Leo's voice and his violent strumming ability.

(I guess these don't work. wow, i'm late in finding this out. Um, sorry. Really.)


Anonymous said...

Would you say that this album is good enough for a dance party? USA style? hehe ;)

I agree with everything you said - love the album - even though I am only an indie newbie!

Elad said...

yep. perfect dance party material. even in cars!