In the tradition of teenage pop rock acts such as Silverchair and Ben Lee, another band from Australia has thrust itself into mainstream music. With its self-titled debut album (Reprise), the generic sounding band The Living End, ultimately will fall into the overpopulated pool of forgettable one-hit wonders and future “VH1’s Where are the Now?” documentary subjects.
With a rockabilly image complete with bleached pompadour hair cuts, an upright bass and a hollow-body guitar, The Living End tries to model its image after the teddy-boy idols and punk-rock influences such as the Stray Cats, Sex Pistols and Green Day.
These guys end up looking like no more than a slightly tougher version of Silverchair, and Silverchair is only a slightly tougher version of Hanson. And The Living End’s music doesn’t salvage any of the credibility that its image lacks.
The band’s first U.S. single, “Prisoner of Society,” received round-the-clock air play, but few probably remember the band’s name. The Living End is just another flash in the pan. Its bland, unimaginative and generic music comes off sounding like a bad NOFX cover band or a weak imitation of Sublime or the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
A few of the songs, such as “Save the Day” and “Fly Away,” contain some good music or catchy riffs, but the band manages to screw it up with its lyrics or musical style.
Singer/guitar player Chris Cheney does have musical talent, especially excelling on guitar. But he falls flat on his face when he tries to write lyrics. Maybe it’s the youth of the band members that prevents it from connecting to any of its song’s subjects. But it even has difficulty making the lyrics rhyme, let alone make a statement.
Many of the band’s choices of song titles, however, are rather appropriate. The second track, “Growing Up,” is something these guys still need to do, and the seventh song, “All Torn Down,” describes the band’s dreams of stardom. It will only be a matter of years before it’ll be singing “Have They Forgotten?” the tenth track on the album. The band member’s knack for choosing titles doesn’t apply to the band name, however, as this album is a dead end.