September 24, 2018 The Living End – Wunderbar (Album Review)
From a land down under, Australian Rock-n-Roll trio The Living End return on Friday, September 28, 2018, via the band’s newest album, Wunderbar, thanks to BMG Rights Management.
Before diving into Wunderbar, let’s reflect quickly on the history of this unique band. Formed in 1994 by Vocalist/Guitarist Chris Cheney, as well as Bassist Scott Owen, and joined by Drummer Travis Dempsey in 1996, The Living End found their happy place musically, developing a sound the band considers straight-up Rock-n-Roll with a Punk Rock influence. Overall, the members of The Living End draw inspiration from varying paths in music – channeling the likes of Iggy Pop, Clash, 1950s Rock-n-Roll, and Rockabilly. In fact, the name The Living End is influenced by a saying taken from the 1956 film Rock Around The Clock.
Turning back the clock to 1998, The Living End exploded into the mainstream with the smash Punk Rock single “Prisoner of Society.” Though the song was actually released one year earlier, in September 1997, on their EP, Second Solution/Prisoner of Society; it took some time to reach fans in the U.S. Then, in October 1998, The Living End released their full length debut album, The Living End, hitting No. 1 in the band’s native Australia, spending a staggering sixty-three weeks on the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart, peaking at No. 23, and achieving multi-platinum success.
Needless to say, Punk Rock fans ate up The Living End’s formula of a clean guitar sound layered on top of moving melodies, and a certain touch vocally to add a special emotion to the band’s music. Following the achievements met with an acclaimed debut, over the last eighteen years, The Living End continue to thrive, especially in their homeland Australia, releasing album after album of new music from 2003’s Modern Artillery through 2016’s Shift.
Joined by Andy Strachan on drums since 2002, The Living End offer up Wunderbar, their eighth overall LP, showing no signs of slowing down or loss of talent in songwriting. Walking into Wunderbar, you will be welcomed by the opening track “Don’t Lose It,” a simple message, met by simple sounds that immediately pull you in. Maybe a story of rebel adolescence, “Not Like The Other Boys” captures the essence of needing, but not exactly wanting, to get your life together. Next, The Living End take it on the “Otherside” via a stirring melody and the feeling nothing will ever be good enough.
A seemingly unavoidable subject, The Living End tip their political hat on “Death Of The American Dream,” voicing the upside down issues facing today’s society. Thereafter, the rousing “Drop The Needle” makes way for the compelling “Love Won’t Wait,” and an anti-dependent “Proton Pill.” Moving along, Cheney sings about never going back to “Amsterdam” while pondering the thought of sending our sons and daughters to war on “Too Young To Die.” Out for blood, “Wake Up The Vampires” precedes the fighting story of “Rat In A Trap” to close Wunderbar.
For anyone who may have forgotten The Living End, Wunderbar serves as a reminder that they are in fact alive, well, and as strong as ever in the craft of honing good quality tunes. That said, to long-time fans of The Living End, you will surely be pleased with Wunderbar, and the band’s consistency in delivering the goods with another solid release. Worth checking out, CrypticRock gives Wunderbar 4 out of 5 stars.