Sound — 8
Having only been interested in the band for an odd two or so years, some might say that I would be a "n00b" fan. However, the love of the band turned into an obsession which led to my thirst for Living End knowledge, I'll have to say my judgement and comments would be quite valid. The Living End went to hibernate for a good year and a half prior to the release and tour of the greatest hits album "From Here On In." Wanting to capture a live feel to the sound, they played "Splendour in the Grass" up in Byron Bay and literally went into the recording studio the day after the gig. When they went after a "live" sound, they definitely did achieve it. The beginning of the first track, "In The End," has the band doing an almost "soundcheck," setting the vibe of the album. Cheney's guitar was raw sounging as usual and showed remnants of their AC/DC influence. The drums sounded a bit "synthetic" but what impressed me most was Andy's maturing as a drummer. I also dug Scott's double bass' groove. This being The Living End's 5th official studio album release, their sound is quite different to the almost "juvenile" sound they possessed during their Self Titled days. Cheney's almost virtuosity of the guitar showed on the record. This time, not for fast rockabily licks or head spinning solo's, rather his ingenuity as a composer and song writer. Obvious Queen influences were shown in In The End and Reborn where guitar harmonies was used, with a Cheney twist. What I did miss WAS the brain frenzy solo (think Prisoner Of Society, End Of The World).
Lyrics — 8
In my own opinion, sometimes the lyrics featured in The Living End songs are a bit inconsistent. While some songs feature classic pub lyrics, other songs do fall short with repetitive lyrics. Maybe that isn't my sort of thing. To add to the blemishes, the vocals of Chris Cheney might be a bit raspy a times. Even though being an Australian, I can tell that international audienced might be turned off by the "ocker" influenced accent. This time around, the lyrics are definitely stronger. Some weakpoints can be pinpointed (Order Of The Day) but the lyrics are heightened and almost saved by Chris' guitar. You lose some you win some. Also, State of Emergency feature your usual pub anthems (Long Live the Weekend) and a song that fits today's society contextually (Wake Up). The band states that The London Bombings was the catalyst to this song, which sends out messages of "manipulation" of the society with the ongoing affairs. Long Live the Weekend has its hand raised as an anthem like song, rejoicing the weekend (hence the name) and the gloom of work. Another impressive thing about State of Emergency is Cheney's vocals. Producer Nick Launay mentioned that Cheney wanted this record to be a one which displays his vocals in a better way. I have to say, the vocals on this album is better than any of the vocals on all the other albums. Props to Cheney again.
Overall Impression — 9
Being a band who has enough credentials to be called a modern rock 'n' roll band (I use this term carefully), yet an eagerness to have pop driven melodies, The Living End has received moderate success. Well short of what they deserve. State Of Emergency debuted at a deserving number one, only to be knocked off by mainstream rock records and an Australian Idol Punk rock poser loser (Lee Harding). Both singles (What's On Your Radio, Wake Up) have both debuted in the top 10 in the ARIAS, only to see them plummet exponentially. The next single and my favourite track, Long Live The Weekend, is probably one of the stronger songs on the album in my record. Going back to near teenybopper state, the ending of the song melts me with giddiness. Till The End, Wake Up and Nowhere Town are also songs worth mention. The Living End has pulled up another album of strong calibre and did not dissapoint their fans. It is a well crafted album which also screams out "maturity." A point worth talking about is the free DVD that it came with. Lovers of the band will go head over heels to see them talk about the album and its creation. Titled, "How to make an album and influence people," it showed the making of the album. This adds value to the album I reckon. Being a bit tight with money, if it were lost, I would think twice before purchasing it. Also, living in the modern age, where CD's are burnt and duplicated anyway, thinking twice isn't a bad idea afterall. But considering I love the album to bits, I will say that it is a valuable CD in my CD collection and worth it for the DVD. To cut a long review short, bloody awesome album for a great, credible Aussie band and you should all give it a listen.