AU ABROAD

Trial Kennedy - Living Undesigned (2011 LP)

Trial Kennedy

Trial Kennedy - they've almost been around for a whole decade. A decade can be a long time to slog it out for an Australian rock band, who despite triple j airplay and a dedicated fan base, haven't really hit what most would consider the "big time". Yet it's more apparent than ever that constant touring and perseverance have come through, rewarding the band as a whole with armloads of talent. Their second album, Living Undesigned, is a testament to that.

Filled with the kind of rock that's tough enough to get excited about, but accessible enough to get anyone tapping their feet, Trial Kennedy have polished the anthemic choruses on this release. Tim Morrison's vocals are some of the strongest I've heard, almost notching him up alongside other Aussie heavy-weight rock vocalists like Flynn Gower (Cog). The subtleties found in calm "My Own" move against the borderline aggression felt on others, and it works surprisingly well.

The first real killer on this album is "Exology". It'll encourage you to dance, in perhaps one of the least conventional ways possible, and once those huge bass notes plunge in (oh, you'll know them when you hear them), you'll feel the power behind the track.

Some tracks hit that fine line between core pop sensibilities, and heavy rock, and others seem to fall either side. It's lucky, because far too many bands rely on attempting to walk that tightrope, but Trial Kennedy can go either way and it works. The result, whilst incredibly enjoyable, feels almost indecisive - as if they band aren't quite sure what they want.

That aside, a place alongside the top contemporary Australian rock acts is well deserved for Trial Kennedy. Living Undesigned probably won't go on to become a critically acclaimed classic, but the reality is that this is a damn good album. Consistent, strong, and with a few very memorable stand-outs, it's one step further for a band that truly deserve bigger things.

Review Score: 8/10