Sound — 9
The Living End. Started off in the mid '90s, their unique blend of a broad range of musical genres have created a "bastard grandchild" of the Stray Cats, the Sex Pistols, The Beatles and The Clash. With this album, their 15 years of musical Nirvana has been reached with album number 5. Almost all elements that singer/guitarist Chris Cheney, double bassist Scott Owen and drummer Andy Strachan have strive to create have been reached, mixing Led Zeppelin-esque hardness with the bands own signature sound of Australian rock and roll. Ever since their first Self Titled album, the band has strive to broaden their horizons, with the next three albums attempting to catch their unparalleled live show. But now, with Rage Against The Machine producer John Agnello and the mixing capabilities of Brendan O'Brien-who before this album mixed the soon to be released AC/DC album-their mission=accomplished. Even with a serous breakup scare before the albums creation, the newly found sound has kept old and new fans begging for more.
Lyrics — 9
With Cheney's almost band-ending hiatus, the band has faced many a tragedy, but have now used this scare to their advantage. The more mature writing style adopted by Cheney have shades of seriousness mixed with strong thoughts yet also has hints of classic TLE. 01. How Do We Know - the Jack White/Jimmy Page riff that started the new 'flame'. The head-banging quality of this song is exquisite, with the lyrics complementing the desire to fight 'Til The End. 02. Raise The Alarm - songwriter-turned-philosopher Cheney expresses the arguments placed by religion, and provides an atheist/agnostic take on the matter. Could be played a little faster, but still a keeper. 03. White Noise - the first single highlights a more 'refined' sound of the band. With the lyrics providing questions of society today, the topic of hearing 'white noise' from everyone seems so real. 04. Moment In The Sun - with pop influences present, the lyrics provides a powerful message of breaking out while living in ones golden years while also providing it's listeners a smile. Piano parts by The Hold Steady's Franz Nicolay add a nice touch of inspiration. 05. Waiting For The Silence - pure TLE with a mix of simplistic yet heartfelt lyrics and meaningful feel. 06. Make The Call - very small hints of Maiden in the guitar work, but provides a perfect beat to jump around with. 07. Loaded Gun - possibly one of the top 10 Living End songs ever made. About the death of Jean Charles de Menezes after the London bombings, it highlights the problems in the law enforcement department and attacks the seneless 'collateral damage'. 08. Kid - the ultimate TLE pop song. So sweet the sugar sickens you. A bit too repetitive, but still a goodie. 09. 21st Century - a critical look upon the major events over the past years. Makes one ask "how the hell are we supposed to tell the kids?" 10. Hey Hey Disbeliever - another Maiden-influenced track. Simple tune mixed with tongue twister verses make up a solid song. 11. Sum Of Us - a completely unexpected reggae track, it somehow creates the perfect final song for the album. Lyrics provide a powerful message, and Owen's bass line is fitting to such a cool song.
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to their previous albums, it is somewhat a step away from the usual formula but also retains the hallmark TLE sound. Steering away from their S/T punkabilly sound, Roll On's complexity, Modern ARTillery's simplistic songs (except for The Room of course) and State Of Emergency's pop-punk sound, the album is an excellent addition to the bands repertoire. With this new album, the band has finally achieved what it was trying to do after S/T, and does it with flying colours. Although the 11 songs do create a break away from the traditional 14 songs, the album is all quality, not quantity, even after hearing some of their strongest B-sides. A definite keeper.