Rockabillies thrash out new riff
CHRIS Cheney has pushed his band forward with a new sound.
The upside is that The Living End sound fresh, rejuvenated and ready to make another half-dozen albums.
The downside is that those who liked the band’s punk and rockabilly roots will be lucky to hear any of that influence here.
There is a depth to the album that only comes with maturity, a willingness to experiment and switch your style that is often too ‘‘ out there’’ or scary during a band’s early years.
As a songwriter, Cheney is a sponge who soaks up influences from all kinds of genres, from Springsteen to The Prodigy.
He ties them together with his own experiences and has turned in an impressive, slick, pitch-perfect batch of rock ’ n’ roll songs.
The album The End is Just the Beginning Repeating thrives on diversity.
There’s some Brit-rock ( For Another Day), some heavy rockers like the title track, a few tunes that were influenced by classic sounds ( Heatwave) and others by futuristic ideas ( Song For the Lonely).
What ties them all together into a cohesive package is great basslines, punchy drums and Cheney’s excellent songwriting and guitar playing.
He’s also a deft rock ’ n’ roll singer who is able to deliver subtle sincerity on the quieter songs and ballsy grunt on the heavier rocking tunes.
Heatwave is a straight-ahead rocker that sounds musically and lyrically very much like Midnight Oil.
Machine Gun combines thick and chunky riffs with echoing, shimmering guitar melodies, a strutting verse and great lyrics about never walking away or settling for the easy way out.
In the Morning tricks the listener with 20 seconds of quiet vocal melodies before – bam! – the rock riffs and thumping drums appear to do some serious damage.
Away From the City is the album’s most moshpit-ready song. It is, in many ways, the closest thing to vintage Living End on this outing.
The lyrics about rising up and making a stand could fit snugly on any of the band’s back catalogue.
Song for the Lonely is technically a rock song but in a surprising twist it sounds like the band wanted to dance the night away.
Cheney dealt with more than his share of personal troubles while working on the album – cancer, deaths in his family and a prematurely born daughter. Each demon he had to face has seeped into his writing . . . how could they not?
The theme of everyone being different but exactly the same pops up throughout the album.
His lyrics are often personal and soul-searching but, at the same time, universal in scope.