The Morning Star

Roll On

Author: Joe Warminsky III

Roll On

The rockabilly edge of The Living End’s 1998 self-titled disc set it apart from the world of alt-rock guitar wankers, but the Australian band claims it has outgrown the rootsy sound. Oh, well. “Roll On,” the follow-up, would benefit from more swing and sting sprinkled among its slicked-up, working-class punk anthems. Producer Nick Launay (Silverchair, Midnight Oil) might carry the most blame – every song he massages gains an element of Loverboy. But that’s not a direct dis on The Living End’s hook-powered tunes – singer Chris Cheney is one of the few politically astute radio-rockers around, without romanticizing the plight of the little guy. But because of that, “Roll On” evokes the inevitable comparisons to The Clash, and the band certainly can’t hide its affection. If the careers of Green Day and Rancid are any indication, it’s gonna take The Living End a little while to figure out exactly what kind of band it is.

The Living End, Midtown, Hot Rod Circuit, River City High and Thurs- day, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St., Philadelphia, 215-922-1011.