The Living End

Author: Jake Cleland

Dew Process/UMA

Technically, there is nothing wrong with The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating. That’s rare, and you’d assume it’d be high praise. It isn’t. Like a blank sheet of paper or a neat haircut, this album is plenty serviceable and very consistent. However, consistency is one thing but monotony’s another, and the tracks never feel like they’re going anywhere.

Every verse is built with ham-fisted simplicity as if with blocks of Lego, each brick contributing another vaguely activistic call to action. With every lyric frontman Chris Cheney seems to suggest that we’re not happy with the current state of affairs and we’re not gonna take it! If only he could be less than totally ambiguous about what it is we’re unhappy about. Song For The Lonely, the second single from the album, suggests that Cheney is just as confused. It’s a protest song! It’s an anthem about isolation! Now it’s about love! He ticks off the boxes as he goes, making the quintessential record for those who love something to feel political about without having to think too hard. The most interesting bits of the album come courtesy of The Living End’s Australian-ness, as references to miner birds and mum treating New Idea like the Bible are the only thing that set them apart from similarly just-adequate US rock bands. The highlight is the eponymous single, where Cheney’s guitar gallops along to the working class anthem, co-written by Craig Finn of the hyper-literate Brooklyn band The Hold Steady: “We are the tired and weary/We are the restless and bored.” It sounds a little more exciting than the ten tracks preceding it, but it’s still plagued by the same endless vacuity. This is their sixth album and Cheney has apparently found a formula that works for him. Every song is just the same thing, repeating.