Hartford Courant

Roll On

Author: Mat Orefice

There are several good reasons the Living End is Australia’s Great Rock Hope. These Down Under chart-toppers mix Midnight Oil’s strident passion, Green Day’s pop-punk cranked-to-eleven guitars, Clash-like political angst, plus a serious rockabilly fetish (complete with pompadours and a stand-up bassist), and emerge with a disc full of memorable vein-popping, hard-charging rock ‘n’ roll.

No, sounding like the steroid-chomping cousins of countrymates the Hoodoo Gurus is not new, but the Living End’s winning passion, potent power chords and songwriting talent make it worthy of any rock fan’s attention.

While no song on “Roll On” matches the shoulda-been hit “Growing Up (Falling Down)” from the band’s fiery punkabilly Stateside debut (although the title track and “Revolution Regained” come close), its songs are delivered with such passion and fury that even casual listeners may end up following it into battle.

The rockabilly leanings are nearly gone, replaced by more standard-issue full-speed-ahead guitar rock, but producer Nick Launay (Midnight Oil, Silverchair) keeps things tough and tight, best exemplified by the fist-pumping exuberance of the AC/DC-inspired “Silent Victory,” the beer-hall shout-along “Uncle Harry” and the dynamic “Staring at the Light.”

Sure, the Living End borrows from the past, but those who can detach their cynicism will find “Roll On” is rock worth taking for a spin.