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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Shake The Sheets (Cover Artwork)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Shake The SheetsShake The Sheets (2004)
Lookout Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: MikeMMikeM
(others by this writer | submit your own)

One thing that can be said about Shake the Sheets, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' third full-length for Lookout! Records, is that it is their simplest album to date. And I wouldn't want it any other way. While I still consider 2001's Tyranny Of Distance to be Ted's masterpiece, trying to recr.
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One thing that can be said about Shake the Sheets, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' third full-length for Lookout! Records, is that it is their simplest album to date.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

While I still consider 2001's Tyranny Of Distance to be Ted's masterpiece, trying to recreate that would be rather pointless. Last year's Hearts Of Oak was also a great, albeit flawed album. It would occasionally lose its momentum with some slower songs and a few tracks were just a minute or two too long. Still, there was no doubt that he was one of the best songwriters out there today. This is why I am so pleased that Shake The Sheets is simply 40 minutes of Ted Leo playing some of the best songs he has written to date. Nothing fancy, just eleven songs, each with hooks that keep getting better and better, and only one, "Little Dawn," is over five minutes (and trust me, you wouldn't mind if it was ten). One thing is for certain, these songs will be stuck in your head for weeks.

From the start of "Me And Mia," the excellent production job of Chris Shaw becomes very clear. It's never too glossy, but still a huge step forward in sound over the last two albums. The Pharmacists, now down to just bass and drums (David Lerner and Chris Wilson respectively), have also never sounded better providing an incredibly solid rhythm section to the amazing guitar work that we've come to expect. If you've listened to Ted Leo before, his eclectic mix of 70s punk, soul, reggae, classic rock, etc. should come as no surprise although now it sounds more urgent and focused than before. Vocally, he's turned down the falsetto a bit, but it doesn't really take away from his trademark style. Lyrically, it is also his typical combo of political and personal topics; but this time the subjects seem to be more specific and you probably won't need a dictionary to decipher what he's saying. This is not to say the lyrics have been dumbed down, in fact they are stronger and more relevant then ever tackling topics such as health care ("Heart Problems") and the current administration overall.

I would even recommend this to those who couldn't get into Ted Leo before, you may be surprised. For those who haven't heard him before, this must be your first time coming to this site, and this probably wouldn't be a bad place to start as it's his most accessible work yet. It's certainly not as ambitious as Tyranny Of Distance, but if I want to hear that, I'll listen to it. I could go on about how good each individual track is, but that doesn't matter; what matters is that you go buy this now as it's one of the best 2004 has to offer. Yes, Ted Leo is still the motherfucking man, and the one the music world needs now more than ever.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Hearts Of OakThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Alkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Clash - London CallingTed Leo and the Pharmacists - The Tyranny Of DistanceThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyJawbreaker - Dear YouOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl Rose

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
teambluegrass (July 22, 2007)

Just barely one star short of 5.

Problematiclogic (April 6, 2007)

Really, really catchy and great songwriting. I'm not sure he'll ever beat this album in terms of quality.

GlassPipeMurder (August 15, 2006)

awesome. way better than the Tyranny of Distance.

the_pro_from_dover (July 22, 2006)

Hands down one of the best things I own. In constant rotation with me, I started singing along to "Bleeding Power" on the subway recently and got the weirdest stares.

Anonymous (May 16, 2005)

great album.

Anonymous (January 9, 2005)

Ya know, sometimes I read reviews of this and think, "Man, I love this album, but it can't be THAT good. It must just be some self-reinforcing hip fetish." But then I LISTEN to it again, and, without any qualification, it IS that good.

DAMN.

Anonymous (December 3, 2004)

Ted Leo is the motherfucking man!

Anonymous (November 15, 2004)

Ted Leo is the new Jimmy Eat World

Anonymous (November 13, 2004)

Best album of the year by leaps and bounds.

"Little Dawn" is my favorite.

I saw him a couple of days ago in San Fran and the place was packed - it was great to see so many people enjoying his music. Ted Leo really is the motherfuckingman.

Anonymous (November 11, 2004)

aparantly im missing out. ted leo is alright, but i seem to be the only person in the world that doesnt go nuts when his name is mentioned. i wouldnt buy the album.

Anonymous (November 11, 2004)

"I never got into Ted. I met him at some free-show once, didn't know who he was at the time, nice guy."

You sure as hell tried to get into him though, you perv.

Anonymous (November 10, 2004)

My second favorite album of the year (Modest Mouse being first). My favorite Ted Leo album is Hearts Of Oak and I don't think this is as good, but I like it more than the Tyranny Of Distance. But this is still one of the best current bands.

Anonymous (November 10, 2004)

I kind of wish "Where have all the Rude Boys gone?" was a ska song. Would have fitted theme better.

Anonymous (November 10, 2004)

i dig this album... maybe even a little more than hearts of oak. but they're all good anways.

i think the timorous me, the great communicator, and where have all the rude boys gone are my three favorite songs of his

plus being from nj i'm biased in his favor.

sickboi (November 10, 2004)

I never got into Ted. I met him at some free-show once, didn't know who he was at the time, nice guy.

Anonymous (November 10, 2004)

so much better than hearts of oak, anyway this cd rules

ThreeChordsAndTheTruth (November 10, 2004)

I love Hearts of Oak, I better pick this shit up.

i-type-poorly (November 10, 2004)

Speaking of The Balgeary EP... The "Six Months In A Leaky Boat" cover. just orgasmic.

boldredletters (November 10, 2004)

Chinatown -

Get "Free the Young Pioneers Now!" by the (Young) Pioneers. You won't regret it.

Also, I'd recommend getting any of the Ted Leo albums, and American Steel as well.

Anonymous (November 10, 2004)

"Yeah, I have the latest Colossal and Waits albums. I'm not a fan of Cave, but I'll look into the R.L. Burnside, the Red Onions, and Slomo Rabbit Kick releases. Thanks.

-Chinatown"

Slomo Rabbit Kick was reviewd on this site. It got four stars.
http://www.punknews.org/reviews.php?op=albumreview&id=244 6

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

I don't know about anyone else, but my personal favorite ted leo record is the Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead EP. It's just so personal and honest.

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

My personal theory is that Ted got fed up with everyone tagging the Pharmacists as indie rock, so he just put out a more straightforward album.

- Little Guy

Eddie (November 9, 2004)

best cover art ever

bemused (November 9, 2004)

Great review, I'm really interested in checking this out now. I still haven't heard an entire Ted Leo recording. Where should I start? The consensus seems to be with the Tyranny .... album

-Chris-

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

Yeah, I have the latest Colossal and Waits albums. I'm not a fan of Cave, but I'll look into the R.L. Burnside, the Red Onions, and Slomo Rabbit Kick releases. Thanks.

-Chinatown

i-type-poorly (November 9, 2004)

The Angels' Share demo up on tedleo.com is way better. The one on this album breaks up the the momentum too much and tries to mess with a fined tuned system of a song. Anyways, killer album.

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

great review. great band.

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

"Given the healthy status of the Canadian dollar, I'm looking to order 3-4 records from Lookout! Any recommendation?"

The Hi-Fives are all i can think of but you should get these anyway:

Tom Waits (not Lookout, but you should own. He has the creepiest rap ever)
Nick Cave
Collassal
Slomo Rabbit Kick
The Red Onions
The new R.L. Burnside

NachoHat (November 9, 2004)

Album of the year, as far as I'm concerned.

Jet (November 9, 2004)

Can we refer to this as a partial circle? If you've been following Ted from his debut, Tyranny, and Hearts of Oaks, you could almost expect this album, it's a return to form and a welcomed one. On one hand, there are so many other places he could have gone from Hearts, the key being if he left the band as a 5 or 6-piece and grooved out. What we have instead is something very reminiscent of Chisel, except it's somehow also distinctly a Ted Leo of 2004. Elements of simplicity and repetition (see The Angels Share) are there from the Chisel era, but the music has never been tighter. This is not my favourite Pharmacists disk, but most of us will agree that it is his strongest writing and I'll drink to that. Maybe that's because Ted is his element.... He breathes barebowns rock and roll.

I'll see some of you motherfuckers at the December show in Toronto.

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

adam you suck!

adam (November 9, 2004)

Chinatown: Pick up the Lashes EP. It's pure goodness.

-adam

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

Given the healthy status of the Canadian dollar, I'm looking to order 3-4 records from Lookout! Any recommendation?

-Chinatown

Chinatown is a fucking poser! Don't give him any recommendations. The kid fucking likes Simple Plan and shit! Chinatown sucks! You Poser

Imposs1ble (November 9, 2004)

Love the album, but for the life of me I can't really get into "The Angels' Share." Other than that I think the album is flawless.

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

Great great album. Not as good as "Tyranny of distance", but then again, what is?

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

Manpanties!

pwfanatic (November 9, 2004)

this is a fantastic album, perhaps one of the best of the year

maverick (November 9, 2004)

I felt like I wrote this as I read this. I'm not sure if that means you're a good writer or a terrible writer.

Either way, you summed up my thoughts on the record perfectly.

-Scott

InnuendoAndOutTheOther (November 9, 2004)

I have never heard anything by this group/artist...but the hype surrounding this record is crazy...I think I am going to check this one out

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

Given the healthy status of the Canadian dollar, I'm looking to order 3-4 records from Lookout! Any recommendation?

-Chinatown

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

This the best release of the year!!!

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

someone give me money. i need this cd

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

AWESOME

Enough said

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