TED LEO / PHARMACISTS: Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead: CDEP

Apr 13, 2008

Listening to Ted Leo is like walking into a history class for a country that you’ve never heard of but recognize instinctively as your own. I spent the last thirty minutes trying to research what the hell the title track is about, and the best I can come up with is an farmers’ rebellion in County Cork in the 1800s. And honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if that were indeed a starting point… but based on how much ground Leo covers and how quickly he moves, the end isn’t even in sight. “Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead” is one of two songs that appears on Leo’s full-length from last year (Hearts of Oak) but the version of “The High Party” which appears here – along with the other songs, including covers of Split Enz, The Jam and Ewan McColl – features little more instrumentation than a single electric guitar (cf. Billy Bragg), and that simply never fails to kill me. There are very few performers who can sustain interest with nothing more than a voice, an electric guitar, and a story to tell. Ted Leo is one of them and I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next.

 –scott (Lookout!)