Ted Leo (guitar) is a poppy mod-rocker a` la Jam,
Chris Norborg (bass) is a dub and funk artist, and John Dugan (drums) is a
Chisel, hailing from the emocore scene of Washington (DC), debuted with the
catchy punk-pop of Sunburn (Gern Bandsten, 1995)
A bit of new wave surfaces on
8 AM All Day (Gern Bandsten, 1996), especially with
Looking Down At The Great Wall, but
8 AM All Day and
Your Star Is Killing Me
show that their key assett remains the melody.
The progression continues on Set You Free (Gern Bandsten, 1997),
a tour de force (17 songs) of mildly punkish pop
that often sounds similar to Blondie and XTC fans
(On Warmer Music, Do Go On).
The refrains, in the meantime, are catchier than ever
(It's All Right You're Ok and The OTS the singles).
Ted Leo released the solo album
Tej Leo (?) Rx/Pharmacists (Gern Blandsten, 1999), a project of
experimental lo-fi folk music in which simple themes are drowned into
samples, found noises and electronic filters
(The Pharmacist Vs The Secret Stars,
The King Of Time),
a technique also displayed in the instrumental cover of Bob Marley's Mr Brown (retitled Mr Annoyatron Brown),
and crowned by the
six-minute noise collage SM 11:11/ The Trumpet of the Martians and
the supernatural fog of Congressional Dubcision.
Leo changed course, though, on
the EP Treble in Trouble (Ace Fu, 2000) and on
his second album:
The Tyranny Of Distance (Lookout, 2001), a sincere work of self-analysis that takes a hint or two from Steve Wynn in the lengthy Stove By A Whale
and the anthemic Timorous Me, introduced a sophisticated tunesmith.
Hearts of Oak (Lookout, 2003) is a mature collection that presents Leo
as a generational voice a` la Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty, via the touching
moral/political sermons of Building Skyscrapers in the Basement and The Ballad of the Sin Eater, but also capable of genuine pop gems, such as
the six-minute Hearts of Oak, Dead Voices and the closing The Crane Takes Flight.
His band (Dave Lerner on bass, Chris Wilson on drums, Dorein Garry on keyboards)
is now up to the task, as shown in The High Party, I'm A Ghost,
First To Finish Last To Start and, best,
Tell Balgeary Balgury Is Dead.
His synthesis of old-fashioned rock'n'roll energy, folk-rock elocution,
power-pop suasiveness and contemporary neuroses evokes the similar
operation carried out in the late 1970s by Tom Petty.
By the standards of its predecessor,
Shake the Sheets (Lookout, 2004) is a disappointment. Classic Leo
touches such as the sardonic anthem Me and Mia and the usual
assortment of infectious refrains (Counting Down the Hours) and beats (The Angel's Share) fail to coalesce beyond their (brief) moment of glory.
Worse: they are surrounded by bland protest-songs (Bleeding Powers, with
one of Leo's best guitar workouts, Little Dawn) and dull rockers (Better Dead Than Lead).
However, the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and Leo's album
ends up sounding like the ideal soundtrack for his times.
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists'
Living With The Living (Touch & Go, 2007)
stretches Leo's art in all directions but remains faithful to its power-pop
center. The hysterical discharges of riffs that pummel The Sons Of Cain
and the punkish Who Do You Love, that sounds like a cross between the Kinks and the Clash,
and the frantic Dead Kennedys-ian hardcore of
Bomb Repeat Bomb
constitute an album within the album, a progression towards harsher and harsher
feelings of distress (whether in the private or public sphere).
However, the poppy Colleen, the reggae shuffle The Unwanted Things and the power-ballad The Toro and the Toreador paint another picture of the artist, one that is both more conventional and more sedate.
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists'
The Brutalist Bricks (Matador, 2010) boasted the punkish verve of
The Mighty Sparrow but the rest was lame, blunt and shallow.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)
Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami