11 February 2013

11th Feb - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' Hearts of Oak

Artist – Album: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Hearts of Oak
Released:  11th February 2003    
Sounds Like: Phil Lynott is alive and well and rocking out

Do you like Thin Lizzy? Do you like The Specials? Then you’ll love Ted Leo and the Pharmacists!

On Hearts of Oak, Ted Leo wears his influences on his sleeve. Over rocking guitars and tight percussion from the band, Ted Leo weaves dense, literal yarns, just as Phil Lynott had thirty years before him. Although the crotch-revealing skin tight pants and big thick moustache may be less appropriate today, Lynott’s air guitar-tastic fretwork and grand tales seem to work just as well in a modern setting.

Although The Specials inspiration is not as patently obvious in the music, bar a few ska moments within songs, the stand out track is a straight homage to that group and their 2-tone peers. ‘Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?’ name checks Specials lead singer Terry Hall in the chorus, and buried amongst in the verses are references to ‘Pressure Drop’ and ‘Ghost Town’, plus many, many other allusions that I’m just not clever enough to spot.

Clocking in at just shy of an hour, the album may be a touch too long, although there aren’t any tracks in particular that I’d want removed. It’s a very good effort and a good way to introduce yourself to one of the most talented and underrated bands of the 21st century.

Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       Building Skyscrapers in the Basement – 1:38
2.       Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?  -5:02
3.       I’m a Ghost – 4:27
4.       The High Party – 4:53
5.       Hearts of Oak – 5:38
6.       The Ballad of the Sin Eater – 5:20
7.       Dead Voices – 3:43
8.       The Anointed One – 4:10
9.       Bridges, Squares – 4:47
10.   Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead – 4:09
11.   2nd Ave, 11AM – 3:32
12.   First to Finish, Last to Start – 1:54
13.   The Crane Takes Flight – 5:28

Listen to ‘Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzTZzo40PUg

Also released on the 11th February:
1985: The Smiths – Meat is Murder
Also released on the 11th February:
2011: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Also released on the 11th February:
2011: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

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