Ted Leo & the Pharmacists – Living With the Living
Record Label: Touch and Go
Release Date: March 20, 2007
Listen. Repeat. Listen. This album is a grower.
I've been a Ted Leo fan for a while now, and Living With the Living was my most anticipated album coming into the year 2007, but I felt like after three great full length releases the fourth might be a letdown. Let's face it, no band is perfect and once in a while they'll make an album that is just sub par. With Ted Leo, that's totally not the case. Some people call him too political, others say he's not political enough, but whatever you want to say just call him great.
"The Sons of Cain" and "Army Bound" are two of my favorite songs on the album and they just happened to be the first two that we hear. On previous albums, Ted focused on great music to pull the listener in. On some of his older songs, like "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?" (Hearts of Oak), he used flowing guitar progressions and simple drum beats to make his mark. On Living With the Living, he uses catchy choruses and great lyrics. Hey, I'm not complaining.
I think the most unheralded song on the album is "A Bottle Of Buckie." In the song, Ted strays away from his norm and turns out an acoustic ballad of time spent with a loved one as they drink Buckie (or wine) on the shores of a river in Scotland. When I first listened to it, I was left kind of feeling empty. It did nothing for me. Upon listening to it more, I was quite surprised by it. It's the kind that Ted doesn't normally write, but it shows just one of the many things that he has to offer: versatility.
The studio version of "Some Beginner's Mind" is the song I had wanted to hear the most on the album. Having heard it live, I was enthralled, and then hearing it again on the finished version of Living With the Living I was once again in love. Easily my favorite song on the album, it is a high energy rock tune with a fantastic guitar solo in the middle. The type of song you would expect Ted to write. Simple and catchy.
The first time I listened to the album as a whole, it kind of made me scratch my head...I was left with mixed feelings. When I listened to it two or three more times, it did nothing but grow on me. Ted Leo has once again proved his versatility and talent by creating an album with nothing but great rock tunes that leave you wanting yet another album. If you haven't listened to Ted Leo yet, what are you waiting for? The time is now.
From start to finish, this is one of the most perfect albums created this year.
I need to listen to this more. I've gone through it about 3 times, and nothing really catches me. Although, the reggae-ish song "The Unwanted Things" was at one point, stuck in my head for a full two days.