Crave critical consensus? Just take a look at the reviews for The Brutalist Bricks, the sixth and latest album from Washington, D.C.-based gentleman-punkers Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Ted and Rx got 31/2 out of 5 stars from three leading national periodicals, and a 7.9 from a certain infernal online music site that shall remain nameless. That's consistency, baby, and neatly illustrates what Ted Leo is all about — namely, down-the-middle, indie-rock sensibilities to which critics can't help but respond positively, if not effusively. When frontman and main creative force Leo started out on Lookout! Records in the early '00s, progressive but disciplined forays into Celtic rock, punk, and New Wave defined the band. Now, having moved to Matador Records, Leo has tightened the revolutions and jacked up the melodies, suggesting a pop-punk salmagundi of Black Flag, Bad Religion, and Nick Lowe. Which is to say, Leo and his Pharmacists provide a nice respite from all that aural experimentation out there. It's not The Dirty Projectors, but, then again, it's not The Dirty Projectors.
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