No End To The Great Sounds From Rock’s New Saviours

Author: Sandra Sperounes

The End is a group of five progressive metal musicians from Ontario. The Living End is a pop-punk trio with a stand-up bassist from Australia.

The End is signed to Relapse, an indie label with acts such as Genocide Superstars, Regurgitate, Dying Fetus and my fave, Bongzilla.

The Living End is signed to Reprise, a division of Warner.

Both bands sing about suffering and both are considered the new saviours of rock, depending on which magazines you read. The End’s menacing faces are currently plastered on the cover of Exclaim!, Canada’s monthly music paper. The Living End are the new heroes of Alternative Press.

Do these ends justify such means?

Absolutely, though The Living End will likely win the popularity sweepstakes. The End’s Within Dividia, which should be called Modern ARTillery, is an assault of guitar rat-tat-tats, shifting tempos and Aaron Wolff’s painful shrieks. Most of Within Dividia is far from subtle, but The Sense of Reverence and Orthodox Unparelleled offer nuances of ambient soundscapes, which denote “a film noir atmosphere” according to A horror film atmosphere is more like it.

The Living End’s Modern ARTillery isn’t nearly as complex, but the trio’s snappy tunes about fame, death and politics are a step – nay, make it the entire ladder – above the usual pop-punk fare clogging up the airwaves like a backed-up toilet.

Songs such as Jimmy cram so much into three minutes – including guitar solos and drum rolls – while In The End, one of ARTillery’s most powerful weapons, transcends the ordinary by using a simple technique: the vocal echo. “Have you ever wondered why the truth is hard to say?” asks singer/guitarist Chris Cheney. A half beat later, one of his bandmates repeats the last word. Truthfully speaking, it’s a sublime moment.

While songwriters will appreciate The Living End’s attention to detail, Modern ARTillery will also appeal to those who like rip-roarin’ sing along tunes which burrow into your brain like small rodents. End of The World and Who’s Gonna Save Us?, with its huge chorus of chants and a bouncy drum rhythm, conjure up images of getting drunk in Coronation Street-style pubs while listening to The Jam, one of the most under-rat- ed British bands of the ’80s.

In conclusion: The Living End sounds like popster Billy Joel, circa early ’80s, trying to punk himself up and write Clash tunes. The End, who will be heading to Edmonton in May, could be the sonic equivalent of a bunch of punks torturing Joel.

The Living End: They Shall Overcome

Author: Vicki Fisher

For Australian rockabilly/ punk band The Living End, it’s all about overcoming obstacles. Bouncing back from a 2001 car accident that almost killed singer/guitarist Chris Cheney and the sudden departure of their drummer in 2002, The Living End (now comprising Cheney, bassist Scott Owen and drummer Andy Strachan) prove that their third album, Modern ARTillery, was well worth the wait. (It’s been four years.)

While Modern ARTillery doesn’t have the raw power of the band’s 1998 self-titled debut, it packs a rock-n-roll punch that could earn The Living End the recognition it deserves.

From the first second, the album sounds like any other of the band’s releases, with a fury of fast-paced punk mixed with rockabilly on “What Would You Do?” But then the band turns a different track on most of the following songs, deviating a bit from their typical sound, producing addictive hooks and subtle, melodic choruses.

Two of the album’s best tracks, “Short Notice,” and “Hold Up,” feature the band’s signature brand of punk. “Short Notice” is an unequivocally catchy and raw punk song, while “Hold Up” is an urgent and descriptive story about a bank robbery. It’s hard to deny the influence of Elvis Costello’s jangly pop sensibility in songs like “Maitland Street,” “Jimmy” and “In the End,” and early U2-style guitars in “Maitland Street,” but The Living End manage to give the songs their own sharp flavor. Cheney has definitely stepped up a level with his song-writing and guitar playing, both of which are impressive but not over-the-top.

The album’s singles already released in Australia (“One Said to the Other,” “Who’s Gonna Save Us?” and “Tabloid Magazine”) are three of the of the band’s best efforts since they joined up in the mid-1990s as a rockabilly band heavily influenced by the Stray Cats. “Who’s Gonna Save Us?” is a chunky fist-pumping sing-along similar to “Prisoner of Society,” the band’s first single in 1998. This song, however, is definitely more complex, both lyrically and musically.

On the 8-minute finale, “The Room,” Cheney leads us on an odyssey started by a Who-like intro. This song, about a prisoner unable to adjust to being released after a long prison sentence, switches from driving guitars to acoustic guitars and back, yielding the most experimental and interesting song the band has ever written.

In Modern ARTillery The Living End has managed to produce an album that is free of all the eclectic frills that many bands incorporate today and shows that a band can successfully experiment and still hold its own style. Cheney developed an album full of great songs that maintains the band’s original sound, yet brings them to the next level by illustrating their strengths.

The Living End’s next hurdle will be proving itself to American audiences. “Will we be remembered/Or lost in history?,” asks Cheney in “Maitland Street.” I hope Modern ARTillery will be recognized as a great album and that the band might gain as much credibility in the U.S. as it has in Australia.

Modern ARTillery is due out in the United States March 2.

Modern Artillery

Author: Jason Kellner

The Living End
“Modern Artillery” (release date is March 2) Reprise

It’s been nearly four years since we’ve heard from Australia’s The Living End here in the States. Well, whatever it takes to make two fine albums in a row is OK with me.

The band seems to share genetic material with The Clash in both sound and socially inspired songs. But where The Clash dove off into reggae at times, The Living End’s tangents are rooted in rockabilly, authentically delivered by the band’s stand-up bass player Scott Owen.

The Living End was lucky enough to have some extra exposure with the inclusion of “Who’s Gonna Save Us” on the soundtrack to the Farrelly Brothers’ “Stuck On You.” The song-which has more to do with the riffs of Australian peers AC/DC and the charged lyrics of Midnight Oil than The Clash-is about the lack of leadership.

“We’re under attack now/ Our work is all cut out/ Whatever happened to your rights?”

But even if you’re paying attention to the messages in the lyrics, they’re presented in catchy, anthemic packages without sounding angry or preachy. Like 2000’s “Roll On,” The Living End could exercise some self- control by whittling down the 14 tracks to 11 or 12, but that’s what the skip button’s for.

The Living End is heading out on a U.S. tour with Jet and The Vines, which includes a stop at the New Oasis in Sparks on March 6. The show here, however, is part of a warm-up tour, and doesn’t include Jet or The Vines.

RIYL: The Clash, Green Day

Australian Rockers The Living End Get Real

Author: Tracy Ung

Get a dog up ya.

When in the company of Australian rock trio, The Living End, they just might tell you to get a in Australian slang.

Actually, the phrase get a dog up ya is indeed a bonafide Aussie term—which is good to know given that one of The Living End’s favorite past times is to feed Americans phony Australian slang.

“We make [sayings] up and make Americans think that they’re actual real sayings in Australia—we make up some stupid stuff,” said upright bassist/vocalist Scott Owen. “I can’t remember them off the top of my head because it’s usually when we’re drunk. We’ve made some stupid things come out of American mouths. Get a dog up ya pretty much means get real and that’s a real one. So you can imagine how bad some of the ones we make up are.”

In any case, if you’re looking to learn a few phrases or things about Australia other than Aussie rock, based on their sense of humor, perhaps The Living End aren’t the best guys to ask.

“Not a lot of people know a lot about Australia. It’s pretty easy to fool people about Australia,” Owen said. “It’s got this reputation that it’s full of sharks and crocodiles and snakes and spiders and stuff so it’s easy to come across as tough guys. We have sharks in our swimming pools and stuff you know.”

This Melbourne-based trio comprised of Owen, vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheney and drummer Andy Stachan has maintained their sense of humor despite all of the hardships that they’ve encountered since the band’s beginning in the early ‘90s.

Although they are only moderately well-known in the U.S., with a number one, a quintuple platinum album and five hit songs, The Living End are undeniably rock-legends down under. The key to their success is arguably that they make a conscious effort to continuously reinvent themselves and never do the same thing twice.

“I guess it’s just not sticking to what we know and coming out with the same kind of material all the time,” Owen said. “We all listen to different kinds of music all the time. We’re always buying new albums and going back into the past and listening to stuff that has had an impact on people over the years.”

Released on March 2, “MODERN ARTillery” is The Living End’s most recent album. As a whole, the album is quite explosive with a sound slightly unlike anything that’s currently being attempted in the U.S. Perhaps it’s because the traditional bass guitar that is characteristic with rock music in general is replaced with the upright-bass instead.

The “MODERN ARTillery” is the follow-up to 2000’s “Roll On” due to the fact that Cheney was in a near-fatal car accident which left him in physical rehabilitation and was unable to play the guitar for months.

The album’s first single, “Who’s Gonna Save Us,” was January’s number one most added song to modern rock radio and can currently be heard on KROQ. The album is already certified gold back home in Australia.

“[The record] has been out in Australia for a few months now and we’re up to our third single off the album now—so we’re stoked about that,” Owen said.
“So we’re looking forward to getting to that in America to see what you guys think.”

The Living End is currently on tour in America to do just that.

The Living End will be performing in Orange County, at the Chain Reaction in Anaheim on March 8 as their last show with Maxeen and Jackson. The Living End will then be touring with The Vines, Jet and Neon through the beginning of April.

After the American tour, the guys will tour other countries before returning to the states in June to support the upcoming No Doubt and Blink 182 tour.

“We’ve played with Blink quite a few times before. We were on the Warped Tour when they’ve done it before and we’ve played gigs with them in Australia as well so we’ve got to know them over the years,” Owen said. “We didn’t really know that they were going out on the road or anything before we got offered the tour and we’ve met the guys from No Doubt as well—so I don’t really know how [landing this tour] came about. I guess they really just decided amongst themselves and we’re the lucky ones.”

Unfortunately The Living End isn’t always so lucky, especially when it comes to understanding American slang. The “homeboy” stuff in particular tends to be especially confusing.

“I listen to a little bit of rap, not a hell of a lot, but a little bit,” Owen said. “It’s mostly just what I see on the tele though—but yeah man, that homeboy speak and those handshakes. All those handshakes and they’ve all got meanings as well. I mean when you shake hands in Australia, you grab the person by the hand, you shake it and you say, ‘How ya going?’ But in America you shake it this way, that way and then you slap it and knock knuckles and pat yourself on the chin. It’s weird.”

The name, The Living End, comes from the ending credits for the film “Rock Around the Clock,” during which the word “living” pops up between “the” and “end”us in a very 1950s-cartoon manner.

The Living End means that there is no end—that there is no death,” Owen said. “It just means to continue, always making your way instead of just getting there.”