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September 1, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Album Review: The Living End – White Noise

The Living End had a bad case of writer’s block before entering the studio to record their fifth album White Noise, and the finished product doesn’t hide it very well. While not posing any serious offences to the listener, White Noise doesn’t exactly produce excitement either. The three-piece hasn’t ventured far from their standard sound, or in that case tried anything new at all… Odd, considering the circumstances. While tired bands such as Coldplay are trying so hard to resuscitate their sound, you’d think The Living End – who have a decade of experience under their belt – would be attempting to exorcise their musical demons by exploring new territory.

While there may not be any evidence of experimentation, the same cannot be said of the band’s attempt to produce a quality punk-rock record. Yet, again the overall outcome seems hesitant, held-back and uncertain as though the End were trying harder not to fuck up than to make awesome music. Their usual bite, the wild do-whatever-the-fuck-we-want attitude is absent. The very opening distorted guitar riff on ‘How Do We Know’ is pretty cool, but sadly acts as the premature high-point of the album. Seventh track ‘Loaded Gun’ seems to be taken from the AC/DC111 textbook, and ‘White Noise’ the single can very easily sum up the album: clean-cut, shiny, unthreatening pop-rock.

Again, unusually for the End, the lyrics don’t take aim at popular political topics: although there is a vague theme of politics throughout the album, this may come just as much from forceof- habit as intention, as Chris Cheney fails to vocalise any depth behind his lyrics. The exception to the rule is ‘21st Century’, on which the End hate on Bush and global warming. The track is just as much cringe-worthy as political as Cheney sings “Mohammad Ali, Kurt Cobain, there’s no such thing as cheap cocaine” …cool. ‘Prisoner of Society’ seems a long, long time ago.

White Noise is a 50:50. Sure it’s pretty boring and may as well not exist for the impact it makes. But it’s not bad music either. It’s well written, well performed, and well produced; it just doesn’t offer a lot. I’m sure to the intelligent university music lover White Noise will be a swing and a miss, but it will be beloved by your 14 yearold sister. As they say, take it or leave it.

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