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.

Recording The Living End

Author: Ben Preece

The Living End cut their latest album in Byron Bay’s Studio 301 and also Red Door Sounds in Melbourne under the watchful production ears of Atlanta-based producer Nick Didia. SPA’s Ben Preece learned that despite Didia having worked on albums by the likes of Rage Against The Machine and Springsteen, it was singer, songwriter and guitarist Chris Cheney who continued to guide the ship the whole way.

“He really shone in the studio and had some good ideas in pre-production working on arrangements,” says Cheney. “But a lot of that still, I feel, is down to me, you know. Like he can only say, ‘That part’s too long there, we need to shorten that,’ and I thought, ‘Well, yeah but the thing is we’ve got most of the chords, which kind of link those sections,’ and he’d be like, ‘Well just take them out.’ I’d be like, ‘Well it doesn’t work if I take them out, you still need to sort of link it up in the right way.’ So that part of it, I thought that was down to me, but in the actual studio, his attention to detail was just fantastic. He was just so tuned in to everyone’s parts they were playing and he had a level of concentration I hadn’t really seen before in a producer. He’d be listening to a playback and he’d be right in the zone and would be making sure as an engineer that every instrument had its own little pocket and he was really big on the idea of not going with the biggest guitar sounds in the world, the biggest drum sounds, you know? It was about finding the place where everything sonically suited so that it fits and creates this canvas of sound. I think sonically it’s our best sounding record.”

The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating

Author: Alex Watts

The Living End has always been a guilty pleasure – something sitting perhaps too-often-played in your library, showing up with disturbing frequency in shuffles, making it onto mix tapes now and then. You wouldn’t tell your friends that you bought it, but you did.

Now they’re back, sneaking into your radio-listening somewhat insidiously. The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating, aside from having a deceptively pretentious title, is a solid album. It’s a sparkling representation of what the almost-alternative section of Australian music can do, when they’re not “crafting” bogan-prog.

There’s not a lot of downtime – the title track is an anthemic rock piece, ideal for road trips or that awkward walk home after you split up with your girlfriend. Similarly emotionally wrought are Resist and For Another Day, sprinkled amongst the more laidback (but undeniably rock-heavy) tracks like Universe and Ride The Wave Boy.

Snide remarks aside, this is a good album. The songs have a certain tangibility often missing from Australian pop/rock. There’s a dash of punk, those all-important anthems and just enough lyrical diversity to keep interest across the entire record. The moments when you find yourself singing along are only mildly embarrassing.

The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating isn’t the best album you’ll buy this year, but it’s a lot better than most. Groundbreaking? No. Thrillingly inspiring? Perhaps not. Worth a spin? Definitely.

The Living End

Author: Unknown

The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating
Dew Process

Yeah, it’s still identifiable. The social commentary still in place and a chorus which will see tinnies-a-raised in a thousand festival crushes, but something’s different. Further research discovers it’s cowritten with various of the somewhat likeminded Hold Steady and produced and fiddled with by big name American producers. Chris Cheney’s voice seems a little auto-tuned and everything else sounds a little too ‘right’ as well. Only turds need to be polished this much and the Living End were always a bit better than that.

Singled Out

Author: Clem Bastow

Dew Process

There are some bands that I find myself mildly amused to discover are still functioning these days – which was precisely the response I had to this single, which finds Chris Cheney sounding suspiciously AutoTuned over a fairly generic-sounding commercial rock spin on The Clash’s template (and slightly confusing hints of Klezma, though they may be unintentional and more to do with my current mental state). I wonder what those righteous young Prisoner Of Society lads would think of this?

The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating

Author: Unknown

There’s a political message in the new track from the old men of Australian popabilly The Living End, it’s just not very clear what that is. There’s a lot of vague kind of references about mobilising the disgruntled masses, but for what? No idea. Anyway, the song itself is classic material from the group with a singalong chorus and that big punchy drum thing happening. The recording itself sounds like a million bucks, which is probably how much it cost to make considering the big industry guns that were brought on board to produce and mix it. Fans of the band will no doubt be very excited about the new album of the same title after this teaser.

The Living End – Nothing Lasts Forever

Author: Unknown

I liked them better when they were turning your youthful rebellion into Coke commercials. This story of adultery and marital distress is just plain silly, with shades of Shannon Noll in the verse and a chorus too cheap even for the Lords of Hooktown. The central idea that nothing lasts forever is just about in tune with the trite teen cynicism of their audience, however, and the guitars pound like they should. Write a marching tune and the kids will march: so goes the conventional wisdom of The Living End. And you can’t argue with them, because they sell a lot of records. So they must be good.

The Living End – Long Live The Weekend

Author: Unknown

They’ve increasingly got it down to a formula, but one they do so very well. Throw in the other great Australian band cliche: they’re better live. In another nod to local tradition, they present the always suitable for singing along, bitch about the boss while waiting the 48 hours of 48 thrills to come. The Friday on their collective mind comes with some working class angst that will occur more as the AWA’s start clutching at your balls, and this will make a good soundtrack for ACTU protest marches. If those smug pricks in Canberra will still let us have them.

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.

The Living End – State Of Emergency

Author: Ryan Cooke

The Living End will always have a special place to my heart – going way back to 1999.

TLE were the first ever band I saw live, and seven years, two albums and two drummers later, Melbourne’s tightest trio are back – bigger and better than ever.

The Living End’s 2006 offering, ‘State Of Emergency’, is their strongest effort since their self titled album.

From the word go, ‘Til The End’ has your attention and will take you on a journey you won’t forget.

The album’s first 2 singles, the catchy standard first rock single ‘What’s On Your Radio’ and the more anti-everything ballad, ‘Wake Up’, are just two of the many highlights of this great album.

“State Of Emergency” is going to put The Living End back at the top of the charts and back in everyone’s stereos.