Indianapolis Star

The Living End

Author: Scott Bacon

“The Living End,” Reprise Records.

As someone whose punk-rock education came via the British invasion, my heart gave a slow, cool embrace to the early ’90s ruckus caused by Green Day and its ilk. Maybe my real hangup was that the band was missing the Brit-rock vocals I sorely wanted.

The Living End, a trio from Melbourne, Australia, isn’t the second coming of the Pistols, either, but their mix of pop-coated punk with a surf-rock edge rocks harder than their California brethren, has the requisite attitude and Anglo vocals to boot.

Singer-songwriter Chris Cheney’s vocals are amazingly similar to those of Dave Faulkner of 1980s Aussie rockers the Hoodoo Gurus. Cheney writes a compelling song, whether it’s about a true-life massacre of schoolchildren (Monday) or a fictional account of a man on Death Row (Second Solution). These high-energy tunes disguise otherwise somber themes, though the driving Trapped is a light-hearted number about politicians pursued by tomato-wielding constituents

This young band shuffles between ska punk, the surf punk of Rev. Horton Heat and the pre-swing guitar indulgences of Brian Setzer. Listen to Have They Forgotten, and it’s not surprising to know this band started off as a rockabilly outfit. The energy and versatility on this disc shows why it has gone double platinum in the band’s homeland.