Taking note from their number one Australian debut in 1998, the ARIA awards, and spots on Vans' Warped Tour, The Living End grow up, but continue to rampage on with their rowdy punkabilly on Roll On. Not entirely relying on the spirit of 1977 punk rock, their sophomore effort pulls toward their Aussie rock roots (AC/DC, Rose Tattoo) and a touch of British class for an eager modification, and it's a smart move. The trio's momentous energy remains the same, and the fever exuded through spiraling guitar cuts and rebellious lyrical chants illustrates The Living End's pinch-hitting desire to make their punk-oriented sound less commercial, less kitschy, and more stripped. Frontman/guitarist Chris Cheney is vocally sharp, the spunk and snarl on songs like "Don't Shut the Gate" and "Riot on Broadway" are lyrically tighter, consciously aware and almost wishful. The Living End don't hold back, but explore musical chaos for a tangled hybrid of sounds. Elements of Oi! and ska placates the post-pubescent attitude found on the band's eponymous debut, and the band looks beyond the simplicity of most three-cord riffs. The souped-up "Dirty Man" could have been a Smiths song, humorously tapping into the softer side of The Living End, while tailoring toward the Ritalin-reliant spool of pop kids. "Revolution Regained" has the same effect, and Scott Owen's upright bass and Trav Dempsey's thunderous percussion takes shape as Roll On's rambunctious staple song. The majority of the album is slightly that way, the whole battle cry and infliction of defeat is old-school regardless of The Living End striving for such raw power and self-independence. It's far more fashionable than Green Day's typical quick rants.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson