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The Living End is the most talented punk rock band in existence. The three-piece band of Aussie natives, though incredibly well known in their home country is largely unknown in the U.S. Perhaps its because of the groups unconventional punk-a-billy soundthe result of frantic percussion, upright bass and classic guitar. The Living End is guided by lead vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheney, who seamlessly leads his band mates through 14 tracks on their most recent release, State of Emergency.
A stark departure from current punk and rock trends, The Living End relies on musical precision as well as gripping lyrics. One shouldnt expect a record filled with broken hearts and lost love, nor should they fear one filled with anger and rage. Instead, count on lyrics that are finely crafted and deliberate; lyrics that tell stories and stir emotions.
Released on Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrongs Adeline Records, the songs are both sonically diverse as well as mentally stimulating. Pogo-inspiring We Want More is followed by Wake Up, a haunting track of rebellion that conjures memories of Pink Floyds The Wall with its clever use of a childrens choir. Long Live the Weekend is an ode to the working class, while No Way Out is a desperate plea for help, asking the question Will we ever get back home?
The Living End is a throwback of sorts to the rock-a-billy heyday of bands like The Stray Cats, with Cheney yielding Gretsch guitars not unlike those of Brian Setzerbut with the distinct resonance of the upright bass and frenetic drums adding a unique flavor to the fiercer sound.
To this point, American audiences have not been commercially kind to The Living End. Though this, their fourth U.S. release, is not their finest to date, State of Emergency is still unparalleled in a market overrun with sugary pop-focused punk.
From the Sept. 6-12, 2006, issue