The Ends - Concrete Disappointment (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Ends

Concrete Disappointment (2004)


Listen to the first 30 seconds of The Undertones' "Family Entertainment" and you'll get a fairly good idea of the approach The Ends are taking. In that song, Feargal Sharkey never really breaks into his trademark vocal quiver, instead relying on a marble-mouthed fuzz very similar to the style Ends singer Ian takes to dizzying extremes on Concrete Disappointment. With a vicious Dead Boys snarl and some vintage guitar work in the vein of Johnny Thunders, The Ends are begging critics to rip them up for being derivative, but it's really hard to do so when the results are so damn enjoyable.

The album-opening "Pucker Up" jumps out the gates with a rocking piano backing one of the more memorable punk singles of `04. There's something about including a revved-up honky tonk piano sound in a punk song that just works remarkably well (Rancid's "Crane Fist" comes to mind, although this is far more up-tempo). The band takes the sound they establish on that tune, by all accounts a little more classic rock'n'roll than their previous full-length, and keep it up through the next handful of songs. "New Rome" is an interesting change of pace. Previously released as a single (b/w "Saw It Comin," which is also included here) the song takes Ian's vocals to a distorted extreme and features a wonderfully raucous and screeching guitar solo. The following "Nice Quiet You" has the band trying their hardest to channel every bit of New York Dolls sleaze that they can (and pretty much succeeding). The latter half of the record never really breaks out of form and that holds back Concrete Disappointment from being as dynamic as it could have been, but with lots of high-energy material like "Animal" and "Same Old Solutions" it really doesn't seem like much of a problem.

Austin's The Ends are headed down a much-travelled path, but they do it remarkably well and with a youthful energy that's hard to deny. Despite the myriad of classic influences The Ends tap, they show a lot of their own character on Concrete Disappointment and that's not something you can emulate.