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.