“The Mighty Sparrow” – Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (Directed by Jack Ferry)

“The Mighty Sparrow” is the first of two videos (so far, at least) from The Brutalist Bricks. If my memory serves me correctly, the song dates back at least to the live shows the Pharmacists played opening for Pearl Jam in 2008 (and perhaps earlier). Rather than save its catchiest line for the chorus, Leo leads with the earworm in the first line and slightly varies it further along in the song. It’s this melodic phrase, sung passionately by Leo in his upper register, that opens the album, setting the tone for the following songs.

The video serves the song’s quick tempo and bright melody well, particularly with the series of quick cuts from one member of the band to another. The exploding balloons, flying paper, and camera placement also present the chaos implied in the opening line without the violence a literal representation might suggest.

(A tidbit I found while looking up lyrics: Might Sparrow is the stage name of Slinger Francisco, the “Calypso King of the World” and a man who Wikipedia describes as having “witty, ironic, and ribald” lyrics and “frequently comment[ing] on social and political issues in his songs.” I don’t know if he’s the inspiration for the song (I don’t know him well enough to point toward any specific lines), but based on that description it’s possible that Ted Leo knows his music.)