Music » Critics' Picks

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

8 p.m. Wednesday, October 10. The Gargoyle, on the campus of Washington University at Forsyth and Skinker boulevards.


The politically tinted guitar-pop that has highlighted Ted Leo's last few studio albums once again dominates much of this year's Living with the Living. But the dreamy escapist moments of songs such as "La Costa Brava" — where Leo convincingly lobbies, "Everyone needs a Sunday some days" — gives the listener enough breathing room to swallow his more politically charged pills. "Bomb.Repeat.Bomb.," a brash assessment of the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, draws from Leo's early punk and hardcore roots, while "The Unwanted Things" drifts into a Clash-style reggae sway, and the thickly overdriven guitar chords of "Some Beginner's Mind" brings to mind the pure rock & roll goodness of Cheap Trick. Leo's ability to transition between these wide-ranging influences — while still making his statements relevant — keeps his albums with the Pharmacists enjoyable; maniacal, larynx-shredding vocals make the Leo live show just as compelling.