2001, Music

The Tyranny of Distance (2001) by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

I fell like I had some vague idea of this band’s existence. The name certainly rings some kind of bell. But I certainly didn’t know that they were born as a bedroom project and the bound was founded after they were named. (Which is really more common than you would think.) Anyway, I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Leo writes catchy songs. One of the great perils of indie rock is that so many records are brain-dumps. And it doesn’t feel like that here at all. Even though it’s a little bit longer than a standard LP, there definitely is enough good material. As a lyricist he seems fine, but I can’t say I paid too much attention.

Leo is a pretty good singer, arguably better than a lot of “indie rock” singers. Though his delivery isn’t the most conventional – and likely it’s one of the things that makes this “indie rock” – he clearly can sing. And that helps.

He’s also an excellent guitar player, though he doesn’t seem to want you to know that very often. I don’t mind that, as I appreciate knowing when to show off and when not to. It’s refreshing to listen to someone in the indie rock world is not afraid of chops (or vocal chops for that matter).

The band is loose and rough enough to move this music indie rock territory, at least for me. They also have some stylistic variation, though that could be a result of the songs of course. There’s enough going on here, is what I’m saying. There are other “indie rock” bands that do not sound indie. These guys manage to pull it off, while also having at least some musical diversity.

Oh the whole, this is pretty good. It’s not as quirky as I would expect for “indie rock” but its loose enough and Leo is a lot more of a performer (in the traditional musical sense) than you usually get in bands lumped into this genre.

7/10

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