Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Nov. 19, 2004
The EndsConcrete Disappointment (Dirtnap)
Like trashcans hurled through plate-glass windows, the Ends' growling, old-school punk campaign is a cathartic gesture borne of seething desperation. To that end, "Pucker Up" jumpstarts the local quintet's second album with firecracker élan. The band's grimy twin guitar rabble is augmented with carnival-style piano and horns, while vocalist Ian End's raspy, Stiv Bators-baiting exhortations add back-alley excitement. Following up on such a grand, thoughtfully arranged stinkbomb of purpose is tough work, but "Workin' on Some Feelin'" manages to stumble toward tallboy salvation on the strength of an odd time signature. The closest thing to a love song is "Nice Quiet You," in which the Ends pay homage to bottled up emotions. Ribaldry quashes sentiment on "Animal," a sex bomb uniting class of '77 and Estrus-inspired garage punk impulses in the raising of an aural shrine to raw biology in action. Formed from the detritus of Austin's recent punk past, the Ends whip out a free-fire cover of the Chumps' "Sleazy" in honor of the Blue Flamingo. Concrete Disappointment crumbles to a close with the four-minute "Same Old Solutions," a near-anthem compared to its two-minute brethren. In spite of their well-trod scope, the Ends carry the torch with a gut-level swagger that can't be faked.