Consumer Guide Album
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists: Hearts of Oak [Lookout, 2003]
He abjures the slick. He honors the hook. He reckons the wages of imperialism. He spells forebears and forbearance correctly in the same sentence. So of course he's an Indie Hope. But his literate lyrics rarely hang together or hit home, and unless you miss Kevin Rowland more than Eileen ever did, his penchant for signifying commitment by vaulting up the scale is an annoying convention at best, an unlistenable tic at worst--namely, yoked to his limited melodic capacity on "Dead Voices," which has Indie Lifer stamped on its copyright notice.