Herald Sun

State Of Emergency

Author: Christine Sams

State Of Emergency
The Living End (EMI) 7/10

Where would the Living End be without their trademark musical urgency? The opening track ‘Til The End reinforces everything the band does well – including driving bass lines from Scott Owen and striking vocals from Chris Cheney. But it soon becomes evident there is definitely a shifting sound here, with less of a punk rockabilly feel on State Of Emergency and a number of songs projecting a straight-out rock feel. The band’s rock experimentation is at times invigorating and at other times disconcerting, perhaps because the shifting styles don’t give the album a singular identity. But there is intrigue in the renewed emphasis on Cheney’s guitar skills and singing. Cheney’s vocals are deep and sultry on Wake Up – but the song becomes a little uncomfortable when children start singing back-up vocals (a move reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall). The brisk and entertaining Long Live The Weekend sounds like a purposeful anthem, but other tracks, including No Way Out and Nowhere Town, are less predictable.

They’re Slicker, But Not Slower

Author: Scott Podmore

The Living End has been around long enough that one could forgive them if they were to take the foot off the pedal, cruise down easy street for a while and maybe, um, sell out a little.

Some punters already are calling that one – but rest assured, that’s garbage.

The Living End lads have fired up on all cylinders and cranked out a cracker of an album with State Of Emergency, their fourth studio effort.

The energetic three-piece continues a solid work ethic, getting out there and working it (that means doing the smaller gigs). And there’s never been a hint of inflated egos.

Our answer to Green Day in terms of the punk/rockabilly thing, the Melbourne trio has simply broadened its palette a little and incorporated a poppier edge to the artillery. Importantly, the rock ‘n’ roll remains in big doses.

From the word go, it’s too hard to sit still as the album blasts off with stompin’ ‘Til The End, followed by jump-around, sing-it-out-loud Long Live The Weekend.

There’s more where that came from. The picks from an incredibly healthy crop include first single What’s On Your Radio, the Oils-spiced anthem Wake Up, the jazzy-edged Nowhere Town and hook-laden pop-rocker Nothing Lasts Forever.

The Living End has placed it’s faith in producer Nick Launay (Midnight Oil, INXS, Eskimo Joe, Nick Cave, Silverchair…you could go on) to rub his golden touch over this and he nails a slick production on all 14 songs.

While the band’s list of achievements and awards is a sparkling read, the most exciting thing about this album is that it’s their best work yet.

As frontman Chris Cheney says:
“This time, yeah, we’re doing some different things, but it sounds like The Living End doing different things, not like The Living End trying to sound like a different band.”

Damn right, Mr Cheney – this State Of Emergency is to die for.