Originally published in Boyd Street Magazine on October 21st, 2008.

With the current political climate and upcoming election, it’s no surprise that many musicians are looking towards the news to gain inspiration. After witnessing the violence at the Republican National Convention last month, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists sprung to action by quickly recording and releasing the 4-song digital EP, “Rapid Response.” All the proceeds from the EP go directly to the charity groups Democracy Now! and Food Not Bombs.

“Rapid Response” really downplays Leo’s indie-pop side in favor of a more lo-fi, old-school protest punk sound. It starts with the incredibly catchy “Paranoia (Never Enough),” which features a “Born to be Wild”- like guitar riff that works perfectly within the context of the song. This track is certainly the highlight of the EP. The slow-burning “Mourning in America” comes next, which discusses race as a campaign issue. The EP is rounded out by two cover songs, Cock Sparrer’s “I Got Your Number” and Amebix’s “Nobody’s Driving.” Both covers fit perfectly with the theme of the release.

This release doesn’t quite live up to the past few Ted Leo releases, but given the circumstances of the release and cause, it’s still well worth picking up.