The Living End - State of Emergency (Cover Artwork)

The Living End

State of Emergency (2006)

EastWest / Adeline

The Living End is simply a band that can do no wrong; even their disappointing last album was still good fun. But the guys are back and bloody excited to be making an album with Roll On producer Nick Launay. The production is top notch, having the passion of a live show, but all the instruments sound great, the drums booming accordingly, the guitar crunchy and the double bass shining through.

After allegedly being disappointed with their previous effort, the guys in the band really wanted to step up for this one -- and step up they have. The passion and energy is present through every song on the album and the vocals are best that Chris has ever done. Current single "Wake Up" is one of the finest songs they have ever written, with a catchy drum beat, thumping bass and almost haunting guitar and lyrics describing the state of the nation. The track closes with the chorus being sung by a group of kids, which is a perfect ending. The song is a perfect example of the fantastic vocals and the rest of the band's excellent musicianship.

The band has pretty much abandoned their punkier side in favour of their more rockabilly pop/rock sound. This is not a disappointment when you realize how brilliant some of the songs are. "Black Cat" works incredibly well, the drums carrying along an awesome bass and guitar line that works in its sheer simplicity. The stop-start guitar of the chorus blends perfectly with the verses.

Every song in the album is at least good, with the majority of them being great. The fast everyday lyrics of "Long Live the Weekend" to the slow, almost country-sounding "Nothing Lasts Forever" sound like the band the Living End have been trying to be for years.

Of course, the guitar is brilliant as always, with some great solos, as seen on the opening track "'Till the End," as well as the closing track "Into the Red," although every song on the album is filled with sweet technical guitar.

This is the Living End's best work yet, full of so much energy it is infectious. It sounds like a new beginning for them, destroying the shadow their self-titled effort initially put over them. It looks like it is the start of a new chapter in their careers, and if they continue to carry on like this, then you should come along for the ride.