dB Magazine

State Of Emergency

Author: Matt Vesely

State Of Emergency

How is that one of Australia’s finest rock bands can have been together around a decade and not released a truly great album?

Melbourne punk trio The Living End’s previous three albums all contain moments of brilliance, but are consistently patchy. I sat there and I thought hard about it: I always considered myself a big Living End fan, but I realised I don’t actually really love any of their albums.

Enter ‘State Of Emergency‘. Quite simply, this is the best Living End record to date. Typically frenetic lead single What’s On Your Radio? didn’t herald much promise for the forthcoming album, but listening to it in full, ‘State Of Emergency‘ is truly a step forward for the band.

Frontman Chris Cheney always said that the focus for this record would be the songs, and it shows; stronger melodies, tighter songs structures, guitar lines that strike a balance between not-overriding the song and still melting significant amounts of face.

For the most part, the record is more thoughtful and pensive than previous efforts, with slower, more melodic songs dominating. No Way Out and Nothing Lasts Forever are slow-burners that both build to gratifying climaxes, while new single Wake Up is the most well-written song that Cheney has every penned – it is both haunting and uplifting, and the addition of a Floyd-ian outro of singing children is pure genius.

This is a coherent and meticulously thought out album, not bogged down by the guitar noodling and instrumental dramatics of previous Living End albums. It still isn’t perfect though: Cheney’s lyrics still lack real punch, rhyming altogether too obviously, and despite toning down the punk it is still very much The Living End.

The band have made a fantastic Living End album; what they really needed to do to cement themselves as genuine Oz Rock Gods was make a truly fantastic album; an album that nobody saw coming and really blew people’s minds. But, that aside, for the first time I really do love an entire Living End album.