The Living End have been around a long time, releasing their first big single ‘Prisoner of Society’ all the way back in 1997.
Since then they have remained at the forefront of Australian rock with a solid release of their punk ‘n roll every few years always with enough catchy tunes to stay in the mainstream, but never afraid to tackle whatever issues took their fancy.
This album is no different, starting with lead single ‘Don’t Lose It’ about keeping life in focus while it seems to spiral around you. A solid pub rocker for the opener. The next two tracks also carry a very 80s Australian pub rock feel with a raw and natural production that has a similar warmth to the new Clutch album. The drum tone on the third track ‘Otherside’ displays the warmth and live feel of this album excellently. It sounds great on speaker, but even better through a good set of headphones, as though you are in the room with the band.
As stated earlier the band has never been afraid to tackle current events, and on this album the most overt attack is ‘Death of the American Dream’, covering everything that appears to be going wrong in the US as told from their outsider perspective. It comes with a great rockabilly-cun-hardcore punk vibe until about the half way point when it all suddenly stops, takes a breath and then Chris Cheney does his best Americana to shine a positive light on a country he obviously feels a great affinity for.
‘Love Won’t Wait’ has bass hook so groovy you will want to dance, courtesy of Scott Owen who holds it down for the entire track. The next big statement is ‘Proton Pill’, a big middle finger to the modern cure pill that seems to exist for everything. As the album goes deeper it becomes apparent that this is the first The Living End release without a weak track since possibly Roll On a very long time ago. Even the guitar and vocal only lament of ‘Amsterdam’ sounds impassioned and in the right place on the right album and the fact that its follow up ‘Too Young to Die’ changes tack and goes straight into a more traditional rockabilly guitar shows that everything the band is trying on this album is pure gold.
I could continue to gush over the last few tracks Wunderbar, but I think by now you are well and truly getting the point. On my second play through, all I could think was that solid Aussie bar room boogie is back and writ large on this album everywhere. And that can only be a great thing.
- Don’t Lose It
- Not Like the Other Boys
- Death of the American Dream
- Drop the Needle
- Love Won’t Wait
- Proton Pill
- Too Young to Die
- Wake Up the Vampires
- Rat in a Trap