Song of the Day: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Biomusicology

Jordan Posner Recalls: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists hold the distinction of being the best show I’ve ever seen relative to the low amount of songs I knew. The amount of songs I knew was one. The amount the band kicked ass was borderline infinite. Ted Leo immediately cements his influence with a wild, free-wheeling voice and an equally adventurous guitar. The sheer exuberance contained within these four minutes is so palpable that you could spread it on toast. But, you know, don’t. That’s gross.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this is Side One Track One of Leo’s excellent 2001 outing The Tyranny of Distance. It certainly puts the best face forward in terms of explaining what Ted Leo and his backing band are all about. Get ready for some Thin Lizzy-esque story-songs with multi-layered guitar gymnastics. Lot of hyphens in that sentence. Rock critics tend to use hybrid phrases.

“Biomusicology” is a great intro to one of the most energetic and exciting bands working today. The title, when you break it down, must refer to the study of the relationship between music and life. That may be a highly dubious discipline, but if anyone celebrates the unpredictability of life through music, it’s Leo and his Pharmacists. Though Ted Leo is getting up there in years, he’s only matured with age as an artist and come into his own, both vocally and through his expressive instrument. Washington DC-based Leo releases an album every few years or so and they remain remarkably solid. Ted Leo has by now proven to be reliably great. However, he may never again reach the electric and alive heights of Tyranny. That’s okay, by my count. At least, for one glorious moment, he owned indie rock.

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