The Living End - Roll On (Cover Artwork)

The Living End

Roll On (2001)


Could it be any more unlikely that this disc would procure a place so close to my heart? I can't remember the last time that MTV actually got me hip to a band, but there I was, the day after seeing the video for "Roll On," still unable to extract the song's crack-like hook from my brain, at the used record store scouring for a copy, realizing full well that this was likely the only decent track on the disc. Could I have possibly been more wrong?

What I really want to know, though, is how a punk rock (and I mean the term in its purest sense) disc of completely classic caliber finds its way all the way from Australia, on a major label no less? Apparently this is actually the Living End's second album for Reprise, and I'm told that a song from their first album, "Prisoner of Society" (featured as a live bonus track on the American version of the disc) was a major hit in Australia and a minor one here in America. How does stuff like this slip by me?

Well, onto the music. The opening track, "Roll On," is simply put, one of the best songs that I've heard in ages. I mean in a seriously long time. In fact, if there were any justice in the world this would likely go down as one of the best songs of this decade, but likely that won't happen. This is a song that plants a seed in your brain the first time you hear it, and before you know it that seed is a mammoth California redwood threatening to explode your skull from the inside. However, unlike most melodies that get stuck in your head (more often than not because they're so simple or because they've appeared in a thousand other songs), this one never gets old. I could listen to this song twenty times in a row and still ache for more.

After the end of that incredible first track, it's painfully obvious that these guys aspire to be the Clash of the 00's, and what's scary is that they just may accomplish it. From the heavy metal of "Carry Me Home" to the reggae-punk of "Blood On Your Hands," and finally the Oi!-type sing-alongs of "Uncle Harry" these guys display an expertise with so many different styles of music that I'm thinking of sending them a check; the ten bucks I paid for this CD simply just isn't enough.

I'm going to stop writing now before it sounds like I'm stalking this band. Suffice to say this isn't simply a record worth owning, it's a record that is essential listening for any punk rock fan. Like classic discs from the obvious London Calling to Green Day's Warning, this is an album that expands the boundaries while keeping it's essential spirit, and with any luck it'll go down in history as a high water-mark for 21st-century punk rock.

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