The Age

Album Of The Week

Author: Shaun Carney

Roll On
The Living End (EMI)

Well at least now we know for sure: Chris Cheney is the best guitarist plying his trade on the Australian rock scene. He’s also a pretty handy songwriter and expressive singer, who also just happens to work alongside a rhythm section that is astonishingly well disciplined and empathetic. As the full rock ‘n’ roll package, the Living End is hard to beat and Roll On, the follow-up to 1998’s multi-platinum self-titled debut, is a slick, high-energy delight that demonstrates what three blokes and a little bit of determination can achieve. The band has essentially modified the punkabilly approach of its first album and opted for a purer hard rock stance full of little bits of guitar virtuosity. Cheney has given free rein to his pop instincts; Dirty Man and Staring at the Light are dressed up in high-volume rock garb but owe more to the Beatles. There is also a nice nod in the direction of early model AC-DC on Carry Me Home and some surprise mid-song harmonising on the frantic, riff-heavy Astoria Paranoia. Cheney, bassist Scott Owen and drummer Travis Dempsey are hardly rewriting the rock handbook here but have added enough twists and turns to keep their work constantly engaging.