The Living End

Author: Anna Rose

Taronga Zoo
Saturday March 4

“Let’s give thanks to the weather gods for making the rain stop,” cracked TheLiving End’s frontman Chris Cheney partway through his Taronga Zoo set. Indeed, an outdoors show in the middle of one the wettest weeks of the young year was never going to be the live experience the band’s fans are used to.

But it wasn’t just the weather that was altered: everything was different, from the venue to the audience demographic to the altered, family-friendly setlist. And yet did all that change serve a good show?

Smoke drowned the stage as the group kicked things off with ‘Moment In The Sun’, an ambient opener accompanied by a string quartet. But things soon got heavier as ‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door’ merged into ‘Raise The Alarm’.

That said, Taronga Zoo quickly proved to be the wrong venue for a group of The Living End’s ilk. Only the most diehard of the band’s fans squashed themselves against the perimeter of the stage, forming an impromptu moshpit, while the rest of the audience remained huddled on picnic blankets.

The gig was uniformly too reserved, and the mood wasn’t exactly helped by a guest appearance from Josh Pyke. Joining The Living End for a couple of numbers, his music brought the tone of the show down immediately: only a few members of the crowd seemed to appreciate his presence, as smatterings of polite applause floated around as each song ended.

Though the nifty little bluegrass jam midset was impressive, it was one of the few moments in the evening where the bandr eally felt like themselves. Indeed, the energy only hit significant levels at the gig’s conclusion, when the End blasted through a Cold Chisel cover, ‘Rising Sun’, before closing with ‘Prisoner Of Society’. It was for those two songs that the middle-aged couples and their families shook off their hesitations to cheer and sing along, camping chairs be damned.

The Living End are a punk rock band, but at their Taronga Zoo show they seemed to brush closer to pop, meandering through a tame performance defined by a lack of the usual profanities and energy. Nonetheless, it was eventually an enjoyable show – but only by the final few songs.

Living Endlessly

Author: Natalie O’Driscoll

It’s a bit of a scramble when I’m put through for my The Living End interview, as due to some crossed wires I’m speaking with drummer Andy Strachan instead of bassist Scott Owen. Suddenly all my carefully prepared questions about Scott’s notorious double bass playing are useless. I try not to panic.

Fortunately, the laid back Andy takes it all in his stride.

“It’s all good,” he chuckles as I explain why I’m discombobulated. “We’ll make it work. I could probably answer some of those questions for him, anyway.”

So we chat about Scott’s double bass collection, and whether or not they need a bunch of Batman-style reinforcements due the bashing he gives them. They must, I’m sure.

“He’s got a lot, and they certainly do need to be hot-rodded,” says Andy.

“He’s got this guy in Melbourne who basically gets a bass and then rebuilds it for Scott. The bridges are all reinforced and stuffed with pillowy stuff to stop it feeding back.

“Essentially it’s an orchestral instrument being played in a loud rock n roll band, so they’re bastardised versions for sure.”

Andy is charming and down to earth as we shoot the breeze about the music industry and the craziness of 2016.

“It’s a real challenge to survive as a band or musician these days,” he says.

Of course many musicians didn’t survive last year, in a more literal sense. I wonder if any of them hit him particularly hard.

“They all did in their own little way,” he says.

“George Michael the other day – you just don’t expect it – he’s too young! Bowie was one of the ones that – you know in his genius he knew exactly what was going on and he’s having the last laugh watching the world.”

Back to living artists. The Living End have collaborated with a veritable who’s who of the Australian music industry, with Jimmy Barnes, Jet and Paul Kelly all working with one or more band members over the years. Andy has his own list of dream collaborators.

“We’d love to work with Josh Homme from QOTSA that’d be really fun. I love the way he creates. He’s obviously an incredible musician, and he doesn’t let the rules get in the way of a good song.

“Jack White would be really great. The energy he would bring, particularly with Chris’ guitar playing!

“I would do almost anything to get in a room with Neil Finn and do some work. Chris did a really great version of a Crowded House song. Neil Finn would be incredible.”

2016 saw The Living End release their seventh studio album, Shift. Peaking at No. 4 on the ARIA charts, Shift gave fans both a healthy dose of the driving rock that they expected, and also a slightly shifted (sorry!) perspective with some down-tempo tracks, pop melodies and even a full string section.

Introspective track Coma received critical praise, something Andy agrees with.

“I really like Coma, which is probably the most different track on the whole record.

“Then there’s Death, which that’s pretty ballsy and that was the song that sort of got the whole thing rolling, it felt like we really got a hold of something.”

The trio is bursting with energy following their long hiatus, and excited to be touring the new album. Andy mentions that his musical heroes all have one thing in common – that they’re having the best time doing what they do. I wonder if that is the key to The Living End’s reputation as one of the best live acts, ever.

“Absolutely,” states Andy.

“Every show to us – whether it’s for ten people or ten thousand – we get completely caught up in the whole thing. ‘Cause it’s a three piece band, there’s no room for anyone to be lazy. When it’s really locking it’s a pretty powerful experience.

“Still after all these years it’s the best job in the world.”

The Living End

Author: Unknown

One of Australia’s most prolific and loved punk bands, The Living End are stopping off in Laurieton on their national “Staring Down The Highway Tour”. Focus chats with double bassist Scott Owen…

Hey Scott. It’s been 23 years of music for The Living End, and you have been there for the whole ride … How did you and Chris get together?
Well, we both have older sisters that are the same age; our sisters were at high school together, and Chris and I were in primary school. So, our sisters would hang out together, and that is what introduced the Cheney family to the Owen family. Chris and I were like the annoying little brothers; whenever there were get togethers with the Cheneys and the Owens, Chris and I would hang out and do kid stuff.
We went to high school together. I was learning piano and he was learning guitar, so at 14 – 15 we started playing music together; that’s where it all began – and we just haven’t stopped.

And what inspires writing now, compared to those initial days?
Lyrically, Chris does most of the writing, so it’s hard for me to comment. Lyrically he (Chris) has gone more – particularly on this last record – from writing songs that are political commentary, I guess is probably the bets description for it, and just singing about things – social things, political things, and stuff like that. The change, or “shift” if I was to pull a pun, is now with this record it’s all sorts of personal stuff for him that he has written about.
Musically, nothing has really changed, in that we wrote songs back then musically and stylistically  for the same reasons as now; but our style has changed, because we’ve grown over the years and been exposed to all different kinds of music and appreciate music that when we were younger never thought we would.
Basically, with the writing and style of our band, we have always just wanted to be the type band we would want to be fans of. So, we approach songs with the bands we’re into in mind, saying “What would our peers do?”, or, “What would our idols do with this piece of writing – how would they interpret it?” That’s the style and the chemistry of the band, and that’s just developed over the years as our taste changes.

Prisoner of Society was such an iconic song when it came out; at what point did you know this was going to become an anthem?
We didn’t, really, until it sort of happened. When we did the single, there was no real grand plan of world domination at that point; it was just a single that we recorded and had printed, so we could take it out on tour and sell it and try to make some money. I guess it was when Triple J picked up the song and started playing it, then they started getting requests for it and they started playing the absolute s*** out of it.
We were on tour with Jebediah, supporting them on a national tour at that point in time. It was during that tour that people started getting to the gigs earlier to see us, becausethey’d heard that song on the radio and were going gangbusters about it.

What would you say has been the biggest highlight of The Living End’s career?
That’s a tough question. We’ve had some pretty big ones – playing and touring with AC/DC, which happened many years ago, we played at the AFL Grand Final last year, that was a massive highlight, we opened up for the Stray Cats; that was a bit of a weird come full circle experience. We played with the Rolling Stones – they’re always the highlights, playing with this band or that band … Bands that we had never thought we’d play with. If we had told our teenage selves that we would be opening up for the Rolling Stones one day, we would have laughed – but it happened!

Thanks Scott.

Don’t Miss The Living End on Wednesday 15th March at Laurieton United Servicemen’s Club. Supported By Son Of Jaguar & The Bennies. Doors 7:30pm for an 8pm start. 18+ EVENT.
TICKETS PRESALE: $45, DOOR SALE: $50.

Green Carpet

Author: Steve Bell

The stage adaptation of Green Day’s American Idiot album is coming to Brisbane, and the two real life rockers playing antihero St Jimmy — Chris Cheney and Phil Jamieson — talk to Steve Bell about transitioning from one type of stage to another. Cover and feature pics by Terry Soo.

For many years East Bay punks Green Day relished their typecasting as snotty-brat teens, espousing the virtues of anti-values like apathy, self-loathing and narcissism with a scathing humour that suited their high-octane pop-punk perfectly.

As time passed, however, and they became a massive deal on the world stage, both their music and their world view matured to the point where their 2004 seventh album American Idiot — a sprawling conceptual piece penned by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong — was lauded upon its release for its articulate appraisal of the various malaises afflicting post-9/11 suburbia. It peered presciently at how the typical troubles associated with youngsters coming of age were being exacerbated by both insipid government and the corporations controlling mass media — magnified by a general all-pervading sense of disillusionment and lethargy — with these forces combining to potentially push a whole generation off the rails.

It was an ambitious move by Green Day (and Armstrong) but one that paid handsome dividends, reviving the band’s career and leading to a stage musical adaptation of American Idiot that opened on Broadway in 2010, winning two Tony Awards. It took all of the songs from the American Idiot album— as well as a few from 2009 follow-up 21st Century Breakdown — and moulded them into a compelling narrative, one as pertinent now as it was back when the songs were penned.

Now Brisbane theatre company, shake & stir, are bringing an exclusive Australian production of the “punk rock opera” to QPAC, and for the pivotal role of St Jimmy (at times performed by Armstrong himself on Broadway) they’ve tapped two genuine Australian rock stars — Chris Cheney (The Living End) and Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon) — to play the character in separate stints, but both of whom are currently preparing together to inhabit this somewhat nefarious character.

“Whether St Jimmy is a saint or not depends on your definition of saint,” Jamieson reflects, “but I don’t think so — he’s a villain. He’s the musical villain.”

“That’s what drew me to the idea of actually being able to pull the role off, I think, I don’t have to go outthere and play Mr Nice Guy,” Cheney smiles. “I can just dig the heels in a bit, and get a bit gritty with the character. He’s the one who sort of leads the lead character Johnny down the path of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.

“[Johnny] starts out as this squeaky clean kinda teenager, and then you see his descent into debauchery. So there’s some pretty harrowing scenes: for all of Green Day’s crazy, kinda wacky punk image, there’s some really dark lyrics in there.

“It covers universal themes but also correlates back with what’s going on in America right now, with the madman at the controls, it’s like history almost repeating itself. But there is that timeless theme in the musical, with these kids trying to get out — trying to escape and find a better way — and tripping up wildly.”

Both Cheney and Jamieson were well acquainted with Green Day when American Idiot first came out — especially Cheney, given that The Living End supported them on the Australian Insomniac tour in 1996 — but both remember being taken aback by the album’s strength.

“I loved the record when it was released, I thought it was really, really impressive back in the day,” Jamieson gushes. “I went and saw the tour — I think from memory old mate here [points at Cheney] might have got up and ruined a song with them when I saw them, a Clash song. In the wrong key. But I was really impressed by it.”

“They were in the wrong key, I wasn’t,” Cheney laughs. “So I thought it was their best work,” Jamieson continues mischievously.“I mean I loved [GreenDay’s 1994 breakthrough third album] Dookie — so did the world — and then Green Day did what they did and I sort of wandered off. I guess you can become a bit complacent about acts after a while, you go, ‘I know your tricks, I know those bits, ‘ but then they brought [American Idiot] out and I was, like, ‘Wow, okay, I don’t know all your tricks. It’s a really, really impressive record.”

“Billie Joe’s always been a huge fan of The Who and rock operas and all that — he’s got a Jesus Christ Superstar tattoo on him — so it’s kind of cool that a writer like that could embrace it and put it into the form that he did,” Cheney reflects. “It’s a cracker of a record. It’s not easy to write songs that are linked — it’s like the second side of Abbey Road [by The Beatles] or something, the way that all of the songs were linked together.I love that sort of thing, it’s like the nutty professor or something, but it’s not easy to do.”

Both leads are really looking forward to their first major theatrical experience, even if they’re a tad overwhelmed by the quality of the Australian cast around them.

“I’m not an actor — obviously — and what I found when I came here is that the cast are all ‘triple threats’, for want of a better term — they can sing really well, they can dance really well and they can act really well,” Jamieson tells. “So it became a bit of thing where I was fairly terrified going to rehearsa l— I think I might have psyched myself out a bit. But it’s very daunting. And the piece is also quite challenging. It’s great, though, it’s really fun and it’s really quite a moving piece — it’s definitely not 42nd Street, it’s more like Les Mis. It’s sad, there’s some really, really moving parts.”

“I haven’t performed in theatre since Year 12 drama but I tell you what, though; I reckon I’m always acting when I’m on stage anyway!” Cheney laughs. “I’ll see some footage back and go, ‘Who the fuck is that guy?’ So while I do think that this acting caper is a stretch for the two of us, obviously, maybe it’s not that much of a stretch. I feel like when you get on stage I become this other thing anyway, and we’re playing the kinda rock’n’roll guy in this show so it’s not really a huge leap.”

And both of these acting newbs are at pains to point out that you don’t need to be a veteran theatre lover to dig American Idiot. “It’s not just for the theatre goers, it’s for the rock’n’roll fans,” Cheney stresses.

“It’s definitely worthy and will be a lot of fun,” Jamieson agrees. “It will be loud and they will be serving alcohol, but it will be in a theatre. And there’s some really funny theatre moments in the performance which are a bit kitsch — which I love — then there’s some full-on rocking out and some dark, incredibly moving moments as well. I can’t wait.”

Getting Idiotic
Both of the rockers playing St Jimmy believe that there’s alot more discipline required for acting than when they’re on stage playing music with their bandmates.

“In my first run-through I put my wrong hand on something, so that destroyed the whole piece,”Jamieson recalls. “So I’m trying to get my head around staging, and being really disciplined about where I put my feet.”

“Yeah, in a rock band — especially my band anyway — I can kinda go off on a tangent, and the other guys will just follow,” Cheney continues. “Here, those other 20 kids in there are not going to follow if we decide to mix it up halfway through a tune! Nor would the band!”

Jamieson — who takes over as St Jimmy after Cheney’s run concludes — has been in the fortunate position of seeing a full run-through, and was floored by the calibre of the cast.

“It’s pretty impressive — they don’t hit any bum notes, not that I’ve heard,” he marvels.“They leave that to us. They never hit a bum note, which is annoying, and they know all their choreography and they’re always right… It gives me the shits. But they’re actually incredible, just seeing how well the cast act it out and how well they sing it, and how much emotion they put into it — that’s worth the ticket price alone, regardless of us douchebags.”

The Living End

Author: Cory Perla

THE LIVING END FRIDAY NOV 18
7PM / THE WAITING ROOM, 334 DELAWARE AVE. / $20-$25
[PUNK] Second-wave punk band the Living End formed in 1994 in Melbourne, Australia, inspired by American rockabilly bands like Stray Cats. Despite a lengthy career that has earned them a spot on lists of the best Australian bands of all time, frontman Chris Cheney says he wouldn’t necessarily do it the same all over again. Maybe he’d record his vocals differently, or maybe the band should have moved to the States earlier, Cheney said in a recent interview with website Faster Louder. The band has also dealt with alcohol and drug problems, prompting lineup changes in the past, but for over a decade the lineup has remained constant—Cheney, bassist Scott Owen, and drummer Andy Strachan, who joined in 2002. Their latest album, Shift, is their most personal album to date, says Cheney, who has traditionally written about the world outside of him rather than his inside world. “It’s brutally honest and it’s the most personal record [yet],” the 41-year-old singer says. The Living End comes to the Waiting Room on Friday, November 18 with support from Counterpunch and the Abruptors.

The Living End, Bad//Dreems, 131’s

Author: Maxine Gatt

Forum Theatre
23 Jun

Forum Theatre is packed to the brim with anticipation for Australia’s punk rock masters, The Living End. Kicking things off for tonight’s sold out show is Melbourne punk outfit 131’s who do a great job of warming up the staunch crowd. Lead singer Luke Yeoward looks like he’s straight out of London’s Camden Town: bright red mohawk, tatts and chains. It’s an explosive mix of pop melodies and punk rock riffs and the heavy influence of the headliners is apparent throughout this opening band’s set.

Garage-punk quartet Bad//Dreems stumble onto the stage with their loose antics and pub-rocker attitude, which proves a sharp contrast to their tight instrumental work. Even though lead singer Ben Marwe’s harsh diction is unclear at times, he makes up for it with the way his vocals bend around the alternative riffs. They sound like a rough version of The Clash with some ‘90s Seattle rock elements blended in.

The lights dim and we hear a guitar lick from the shadows, which sets off frantic cheers and flailing limbs. Through the haze of smoke, Chris Cheney jumps out and runs straight to the mic, busting out recent single Monkey as we jump around like we’re back in high school. The Living End are explosive in their performance and it’s easy to see why this band has attracted a deafening buzz around them for decades. New songs from their latest album Shift are interwoven through a thunderous set of classic, road-hardened hits. You don’t need to be a fan to know which songs are the new ones; they stick out not only in sound but also in crowd participation. New track Staring Down The Barrel is a modern and evolved take on their signature sound. We soak up the new stompin’ tunes and rock out to the enormous hit catalogue in full nostalgic singalong mode. All the favourites such as All Torn Down, Pictures In The Mirror, White Noise are thrown in and Cheney’s non-stop riffage mesmerises. The powerhouse trio rips out Second Solution and the crowd turns into a frenzied singalong, while Scott Owen jumps up onto the ridge of his double bass, mid-song, and strums from this new angle with ease. We go mental for Prisoner Of Society and sing a whole chorus without Cheney having to chime in.

All good things must come to an end and we lap up the two song encore, How Do We Know and West End Riot. Cheney leaps onto Owen’s bass and belts out a guitar solo while balancing up on the instrument. Back behind the mic, Cheney teases the crowd with a version of Born To Be Wild before cutting it at the chorus. “No, we’re not doing it!” he says and finishes the set with one more chorus of West End Riot. We’re blown away, not for the first time and hopefully not for the last.

The Living End

Author: Cassie Hedger

THE FORUM
FRIDAY JUNE 24

Even the coldest day of year, snowing in some non alpine regions of the state, couldn’t put a dampener on The Living End’s last show on the Melbourne leg of The Shift Tour. Luckily, the sold out Forum was heated and the beer was flowing.

The 131s are a newly formed Melbourne punk group. Seeming chuffed to be there, the sleeve disliking boys arrived on stage, ready to warm up the frostbite riddled crowd. Lead singer Luke Yeoward has a near perfect voice for this level of punk, gritty enough that you believe he’s lived through some shit, yet also melodic enough to give the songs real emotional power. By the end of the set the guys had the crowd chanting along, well and truly won over.

Adelaide boys Bad//Dreems took to the stage and, after letting table 54 know their chips were ready, the familiar sounds of new single Hiding To Nothing started up. Not really knowing what to expect from these guys really made them all the more impressive to see. With the audience decidedly warmed up by now, it was time to welcome the reason everyone had braved the cold in the first place.

On tour to promote their latest album Shift, The Living End kicked things off with their new single Monkey, quickly followed by the much older hit Second Solution. “It’s been nearly 20 years, don’t pretend you don’t know the words,” joked lead singer and guitarist Chris Cheney.

Through the course of the set the boys pulled out a widespread mix of tunes from their vast discography. There were lesser known tracks like Hold Up and all time classics like West End Riot and Uncle Harry. No matter if you’re a diehard fan or a casual one, The Living End always deliver incredible high-energy shows.

LOVED: The almost riot that broke out in the pit during Prisoner of Society.
HATED: Lack of VB related guitar antics.
DRANK: and drank and drank.

The Living End, Bad//Dreems, 131’s

Author: Deborah Jackson

Enmore Theatre
11 Jun

One of Australia’s greatest living rock bands, The Living End, proved they’ve still got it Saturday night as they tore up the Enmore Theatre stage to launch their latest album Shift.

Ahead of the headliners were tattooed Melbournian punk rockers 131’s. A band still in its infancy, it’s clear that these guys are starting to build some real momentum, with hits like This Ain’t Culture. Adelaide rockers Bad//Dreems followed and brought a bevy of groupies with them.

But, it wasn’t until Chris Cheney, Scott Owen, and Andy Strachan took the stage that shit really got loose. There was a significant shift in atmosphere as soon as the boys struck their first chord, surrounded by a dramatic smoke and lights display, sending the crowd into a state of mayhem.

Cheney riled up the crowd, saying: “It’s time for the people on the floor to put on a little show for the people upstairs. You’ve only got one life so make it count — you’re at a fucking rock’n’roll show so go nuts.”

And the crowd obeyed as an aggressive mosh pit broke out in the centre of the floor and didn’t let up until the boys struck their final chord.

As bodies were flying and people were crowd surfing to the sounds of Second Solution, a man in a black hoodie managed to get his way up onto the stage to dance beside Strachan, completely unbeknownst to the securiy guard directly in front of him.

While there was no denying the crowds enthusiasm for the classic The Living End songs from their youth, songs from new album Shift had darkness and a rawness that had the crowd going wild.

The guys finished the night with an encore of How Do We Know, West End Riot and Carry Me Home, with Cheney delivering an impressive guitar rift while balancing on Owen’s double bass.

Monkey Business

Author: Daniel Cribb

Aussie rock staples The Living End took a dangerous approach when recording their new album — one that resulted in some conflicting feedback at first. Frontman Chris Cheney tells Daniel Cribb all about the “daunting task”.

The Living End have been such a prevalent influence on the Australian music scene since the mid-’90s that it can be a bit hard to believe that frontman Chris Cheney has spent the better part of the past five years living in LA. The shredder fell in love with the US when he flew to New York for three months in 2010 with his family to write the band’s last effort, The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating, and things took off from there. “After that, we just thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be good to try base ourselves overseas for just a couple of years or three years, four years,” Cheney begins from his Californian abode. “It’s sort of still a temporary arrangement; we’re just kind of playing it by ear at this point,” he adds.

There’s no shortage of opportunities over in the States, which is why he’s probably spent so much time there. Regularly taking advantage of the smorgasbord of gigs available at any one time, he caught The Damned at iconic venue The Roxy a few nights earlier. “I actually play in another band, The Jack Tars, over here which has got Captain Sensible from The Damned in it and Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats and Mike Peters from The Alarm, so it’s sort of weird being in a band with those guys when you grew up listening to their music.”

It’s a similar relationship between The Living End and their longtime Aussie heroes Cold Chisel, which sparked the flame that turned into new album Shift. After a studio collaboration in 2014 with Jimmy Barnes, the band joined him around the country for A Day On The Green, which is when their seventh LP came to life through a means completely foreign to them.

“We were doing A Day On The Green and there’s so much time in between — they’re only weekends those things — so we just thought we might as well jump into a studio during that time and just throw some ideas around and not really put any pressure on as far as having to have songs; just get in there and press record, which is a pretty daunting task.

“I’ve always had songs to bring in and we’ve always wanted to be prepared, so there was a certain danger by doing that that it would be a failure and that we would come out with nothing.”

It was because of that creative shake-up that some of the material on the new album is a little different to what fans may be expecting. While upbeat rock number Monkey saw a return to their roots, follow-up single Keep On Running received some mixed reviews from fans on social media. “For The Living End to release a song like Keep On Running, I think a lot of people were just like, ‘What the hell is happening,’” Cheney explains. “It’s just not what you’d expect from us; there’s no solo in the middle, there’s no overly energetic slapping bass. Even though we’ve done lots of things, I think people forget we have a pretty diverse range of tunes and albums over the years.

“There was just an initial kneejerk reaction I think, people wondering what the hell we were doing with a full string section and it’s a very pop kind of melody, but I’m quite proud to go out with a song that people don’texpect. What’s the point of coming out with something that’s just The Living End by numbers, it just doesn’t excited me.”

Gearing up to head home for the band’s first headline run in five years, Cheney cast his eye on local talent as they chose tour supports; a exercise that proved an inspiring process and will see The Living End on their toes as they sweep across the country in June. “I’m really excited by all those bands like The Smith Street Band, Royal Headache and The 131s; they all just seem hungry, edgy and everything that I love and I find it really inspiring.

“I’m sort of making sure I’ve got my shit together for the tour because I know that [support bands Bad//Dreems and The 131s] are going to be forces to be reckoned with. There’s just bands out there that are no bullshit; just laying it down and they’re damn good, they’re not hiding behind anything, it’s just raw rock’n’roll — how it should be.”

The Living End – Shift

Author: Spencer Scott

SHIFT
Dew Process/Universal

When The Living End released the first single from Shift, there was a small ‘backlash’ from fans. The defiant slow burn of ‘Keep On Running’ somehow left a bad taste in a few fans’ mouths – did they just hear strings on a Living End record?

Of course, what they wanted was ‘classic’ Living End – fast-paced action with more guitar riffs than you can poke a stick at. The opening tracks on this album hand them all out in a row, ‘One Step’ and ‘Monkey’ laying down frantic energy and deep groves.

What separates The Living End’s seventh album from previous releases is its maturity. Chris Cheney’s songwriting is more personal than ever, evident in the lead single and the grimly named ‘Death’ and ‘Staring Down The Barrel’.

After the initial burst of signature tunes, the charm of this record comes to life as the band spreads its wings. ‘With Enemies Like That’ is best Living End ballad to date, while tracks like ‘Further Away’ and ‘Coma’ expand upon their signature, incorporating sounds from outside their rockabilly-influenced-rock wheelhouse.

Shift is a standout album by one of Australia’s most-loved bands. Long may The Living End reign.