Hartford Courant

Modern Artillery

Author: Kenneth Partridge

The vice president isn’t the only Cheney dissembling about weapons these days. By naming his band’s third full-length album “Modern Artillery,” Living End singer and guitarist Chris Cheney promises a laser-guided rock ‘n’ roll adventure but in reality only fastens a dull bayonet to the head of his Gretsch guitar for some pop-punk field exercises.

The album wouldn’t be so disappointing if the group’s previous two efforts hadn’t been so dynamic. On the leadoff track, “What Would You Do,” the rockabilly reverb that made the band’s self-titled debut so fresh is reduced to an afterthought. The double-bass gallop returns on “End of the World,” but it’s ditched on most songs for generic Warped Tour-style wailing.

Even when the rhythm section really starts to pop, it can’t match the pace of the band’s own frantic backpedaling. Regression of this kind is common among punk groups looking to reaffirm their roots after ambitious albums, but in this case the betrayal stings.

The Living End performs Saturday with Blink-182 and the Used at ctnow.com Meadows Music Theater, Hartford. Information: 860-548-7370.