The Living End – Roll On
Don’t get me wrong — this Aussie version of “punk” isn’t punk as we know it in the states. It’s more like a commercial stab at punk — an attempt at making punk approachable — sort of a kinder, gentler Rocket From the Crypt.
Or my opinion has been clouded by the fact that they’re a product of Australia, a country that’s brought us such wholesome entertainment staples as Mick Dundee, Men at Work, the 2000 Olympics, Olivia Newton John, Survivor II, AC/DC, Mad Max and those lovable ‘roos. Isn’t punk suppose to be about rebellion, anarchy and anger? How could anyone possibly be angry living in the sun-drenched world of Foster’s Lager and cool, throaty accents that drive chicks mad?
That said, the trio, which includes smooth vocalist Chris Cheney on guitar, Trav Demsey on drums, and Scott Owen on upright bass, knows how to create pop-punk songs that are so ingeniously catchy, hook-filled and downright fun, they’re impossible to resist. Kind of like punk for people who like the idea of punk, but don’t really like to listen to it. Their music has more in common with Def Leppard than the Sex Pistols. We’re talking quick, clean, punk-esque rock, exquisitely produced and played by a trio that’s as tight as a tic and very aware that their strong suit isn’t making a point, but playing hook-filled, sonic fireworks.
Even when try act tough they come off loveable. Though each track seems to start in punk mode, it only takes a few moments before the pop bleeds through. The jumpy “Riot On Broadway” owes a lot to its shout-out chorus; drunk anthem “Carry Me Home” starts off like Wango Tango-era Nugent or early Aerosmith; the chorus on “Dirty Man” would fit right in on a John Wesley Harding CD, while “Silent Victory” sounds like something off Hi and Dry.
What separates this from greasy kids’ stuff like Blink 182 and Pennywise is that these guys have been around a lot longer, and it shows. In other words, you’re not gonna feel embarrassed listening to it in your office, though you might get some strange looks when you can’t help but turn it up.