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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Rapid Response (Cover Artwork)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Rapid ResponseRapid Response (2008)
Touch and Go Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


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

As much as I dislike protesters getting arrested with excessive force, if a new Ted Leo and the Pharmacists EP comes out because of it, I'll have to allow it. Rush-recorded and quickly released to benefit those taken into custody around the RNC, the EP was recorded in a New Jersey basement and sonic.


As much as I dislike protesters getting arrested with excessive force, if a new Ted Leo and the Pharmacists EP comes out because of it, I'll have to allow it. Rush-recorded and quickly released to benefit those taken into custody around the RNC, the EP was recorded in a New Jersey basement and sonically sounds like the song "Living with the Living" from the Mo' Living EP. Unsurprisingly, there aren't any love songs and he downplays his indie side, favoring raw-sounding political punk. Besides the two new originals, it also includes covers from two classic punk bands: Cock Sparrer and Amebix.

The EP starts with its best song, "Paranoia (Never Enough)." With a riff alarmingly like "Born to Be Wild," it has a great hook and is catchy as all hell. One of T-Lo's most overtly political songs, and easily the best song I've ever heard written and recorded in a two-day window (sorry Fuck the Kids / Surfer fans). If it wasn't about specific recent events I wouldn't believe him. "Mourning in America," which astutely covers race as a campaign issue, would fit comfortably on Living with the Living and includes the classic slow-burning Ted Leo buildup made famous in songs like "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?"

A faithful cover of Cock Sparrer's "I Got Your Number" comes next. Not earth-shattering but the double-tracked guitar solo was a nice touch and his voice complements the song better than I have could have imagined. Faithful isn't a word I could use for the next cover, Amebix's "Nobody's Driving." The only common thread between both versions is the oddly-paced guitar part during the verses. Amebix's thrash sludge is morphed into just Ted Leo and an electric guitar, sounding like an older Billy Bragg song. It really hammers home the isolation of the lyrics and is downright creepier than the original. I would loved to hear the more elaborate version he was tinkering with mentioned in his liner notes.

Sure, it's for a good cause, but the song quality got trampled under the story / recording process behind the EP over the news wire. It could pass for something in the can for a while that he flushed with fuzz to harken back to his younger years. If you're a fan, or just a fan of the cause, buy it, cheapskate.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Bomb the Music Industry! - Goodbye Cool World!Bomb the Music Industry! - ScramblesTed Leo and the Pharmacists - Shake The SheetsThe Weakerthans - Reconstruction SiteLaGrecia - On ParallelsDead to Me - Little BrotherHot Water Music - Til the Wheels Fall OffBlink-182 - Blink 182Green Day - Insomniac

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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.
Cox_Attack (September 26, 2008)

Phenomenal. I mean we all know he's the best artist going right now. Such great music matched with such intelligence and integrity.

breakout (September 26, 2008)

As much as I dislike protesters getting arrested with excessive force, if a new Ted Leo and the Pharmacists EP comes out because of it, I’ll have to allow it.
I notice non-one has made similar comments about anti-flag's mobilize EP

feeeding5000 (September 24, 2008)

I enjoy this immensely. The Cock Sparrer cover is arguably better than the original, and the Amebix cover is very cool. Not so sure I'm 100% sold on the originals, but I think with a fuller arrangement "Mourning" could be really great.

baseball (September 24, 2008)

First two songs are great. The covers are just okay. Score is for the first two songs.

-Strewtho- (September 24, 2008)

"It's a shame they couldn't appear on his last album. Which was a disappointment, IMO"
It was disappointing compared to Shake the Sheets, which is awesome.

allison_le_gnome (September 24, 2008)

Everyone knows how I feel about this, really.

"Mourning in America" was awesome live last summer so it's great to have it to listen to again now.

timorous_me (September 23, 2008)

If you couldn't tell from my user name, I'm a pretty big Ted Leo fan. The new songs kind of remind me of Ballad of the Sin Eater from Hearts of Oak, you know, more rock, less folk/pop. It's good stuff, definitely worth the four bucks they're asking for it.

eazyd2 (September 23, 2008)

needs more cowbell.

conebone69 (September 23, 2008)

The two new songs alone are worth the purchase

It's a shame they couldn't appear on his last album. Which was a disappointment, IMO

The last cover is pretty meh but 3 out of 4 is solid

cheezitzzzzz (September 23, 2008)

i liked shake the sheets a lot. i might check this out

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