The Living End: Chris Cheney (vocals, guitar); Scott Owen (vocals, acoustic bass); Trav Demsey (vocals, drums).
Additional personnel: Alistair Shepherd (saxophone); Toby Dargaville (trumpet).
Recorded at Sing Sing Studios, Melbourne, Australia.
The debut by this Australian punk-pop trio mines the vein introduced by The Descendants almost twenty years ago and taken up more recently by groups like Green Day. Punchy, singable ditties, driven by thundering drums and a burbling upright bass. Lyrics like "the future's in our hands" and "we don't need no one like you....to tell us what to do!" are belted out in guitarist/vocalist Chris Cheney's bratty snarl. But The Living End are a cut above your garage cliche, since their tunes reveal careful attention to craft and hint that songwriter Cheney probably listened to as much Elvis Costello as he did Sex Pistols.
Anchoring his melodic hooks with appealing major-to-minor chord progressions, Cheney also spices up the formula with elements of ska ("All Torn Down" and "Trapped"), rockabilly ("Have They Forgotten") and even jazz (the shape-shifting noodling of "Closing In"). Cheney isn't your average three-chord banger either--his textured solos and leads veer from surf to ska to straight-up rock & roll wailing. For fans of the punk/pop amalgam, THE LIVING END delivers the goods: infectious energy, great tunes, and a lot of fun.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (2/18/99, p.60) - "...revives the juvie mentality of several generations of guitar slingers, blending rockabilly's swagger with pissed-punk vitriol....a bracing call to arms for the coming wave of rockabilly renegades."
Alternative Press (6/99, p.116) - 3 (out of 5) - "...The best songs on the band's debut hang on irresistable hooks (more like claws) that claim their sizzling moments of glory while talking up the heartbreak of love, the crush of society, the ache of angst..."
Melody Maker (5/8/99, p.45) - 3 stars (out of 5) - "...there's a gloriously fresh-faced 'jois de vivre' to what The Living End do....It's all swishy power pop....It's brilliant. [They] are like nostalgia without the fluffy edges..."