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THE LIVING END – ‘Wunderbar’ Album Review

THE LIVING END – Wunderbar

The Living EndOne of the highlights of the last few years for the punkonline.co.uk crew was scoring a ticket at the last minute to catch The Living End on their US tour in New York’s Bowery Ballroom. The band put on a blistering show with a set packed with favourites from the past as well as many new songs. If you were there that night, it was clear that the band were on top of their game and capable of filling much bigger venues as they often do in their home country, Australia.

The band are often compared to the likes of Green Day with their meaty hooks, fast pace and melodic vocals but, for me, they are closer to the likes of Eddie Cochran and the Clash although that Green Day comparison is a compliment. The band have just released their eighth (I think) studio album, Wunderbar and it finds the band in fine creative form.

Opening with the punchy Don’t Lose It, The Living End deliver a rhythmic rocker with a soaring chorus with elements of The Jam and The Clash and a hint of Springsteen at his rabble rousing best – it’s a refreshing effort that had the entire office looking up and enquiring “who is that?” The second track of the eleven is Not Like The Other Boys where the band experiment with a slower beat, ballad like storytelling and a funky riff with another belting chorus…this is good stuff folks!

On Otherside, The Living End match some vocal interplay with a song that sounds like The Buggles put through the punk rock mixer and then the excellent Death Of The American Dream the band match in your face politics with in your face fast pace punk rock with that rock and roll and it is a contender for track of the year with some terrific bass and drum work to boot!

The band continue to display their variety (always one of their trademarks) with a plaintive Drop The Needle with some hints of Americana and on Love Won’t Wait with its reggae-ish flavor and Stiff Little Fingers-esque approach – loved this one! The Living End rock things up with Proton Pill with a scorching riff that rumbles along with aggressive sections mingling with restrained spoken word pieces whilst Amsterdam is dominated by an emotional vocal and single guitar (think early Billy Bragg).

Too Young To Die lays down a compelling rhythm, serrated guitars and an anti-war lyric with another signature booming chorus. The penultimate track, Wake Up The Vampires opens with a distant and ominous guitar and the drums kick in to usher in vocals that remind me of Julian Cope and the Teardrop Explodes.

The album closes with Rat In A Trap where another excellent example of songwriting delivered by excellent musicians is full of power and purpose with some backing vocals to add to the power play!


For more on this one go to all usual digital outlets or get it here: http://www.thelivingend.com.au/